The Firstenburg Foundation has awarded the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools (FVPS) a $25,000 grant in their latest grant cycle. This grant is in addition to a $25,000 awarded December 2016. The grants will be used to support the expansion of the community schools model in Vancouver Public Schools (VPS).
“The community schools model builds on an understanding that schools do not thrive on taxpayer support alone. Private contributions play a key role in direct support for students, while taxpayer funding supports staff and organization of schools to more effectively engage community support,” says Nada Wheelock, Foundation for VPS Executive Director. “We are grateful to the Firstenburg Foundation for supporting us in this mission.”
VPS serves approximately 24,000 students in 37 schools and programs. Over 50 percent of students are from families with incomes below federal poverty guidelines (as indicated through qualification for the free or reduced-price meal program). More than one-thousand VPS students experienced homelessness during the prior school year.
“Serious student needs arise in every school. More than one of five VPS students are chronically absent from school, showing signs of needing social service supports,” says Wheelock. “Community schools can support all students. Collaboration between the community and schools creates stronger connections to social service resources, learning enrichments, and positive role models.”
The Community Schools Initiative is a partnership between the foundation and the school district. Vancouver Public Schools, led by Superintendent Steve Webb, has received national recognition and awards for innovation and excellence, particularly in advancing community school practices.
“Community schools cultivate hope, opportunity and agency. The effects of poverty present real barriers to student achievement. Removing barriers takes a whole village approach,” said Webb. “Thanks to the Firstenburg Foundation and other partners, we are creating learning environments in which all of our young people can thrive and become future-ready graduates.”