In addition to raising funds to support eight district-wide initiatives focused on ensuring all kids are ready to learn, improving academic achievement, and ensuring graduation, The Foundation for Orange County Public Schools manages several programs.
Teacher Grants – Last year, the Foundation awarded almost $190,000 to 271 teachers in 144 schools for innovative projects, equipment and supplies in key areas such as math, science, literacy, civics, technology and arts education. Since the Teacher Grant Initiative began in 1996, the Foundation has awarded $2.4 million to more than 4,400 teachers.
Read2Succeed – This program matches volunteers with 1st and 2nd graders who are struggling readers. Read2Succeed 2nd Grade Fluency Program uses a research-based curriculum called The Six-Minute Solution which quickly builds fluency through interactive repeated readings of high interest, targeted passages. The Read2Succeed First Grade Vocabulary Program uses a multi-pronged approach to increase vocabulary acquisition and enhancement. During the 2013-2014 school year, over 125 volunteers worked with more than 850 students in 45 schools.
Middle School Book Clubs – This program works to strengthen the literacy skills of middle school students and encourage reading for enjoyment. 12 middle schools ran 19 clubs using e-readers to help build pleasure reading for 170 students. 52% of the participants ended the 2013-2014 school year reading at grade level, earning a 3 or better on the 2014 Reading FCAT. Half of those reading below grade level demonstrated learning gains. Students also improved their communication skills, learned to respect their peers' opinions and became more confident.
Teach-In – Each year on a single day in November, thousands of adults go back into the classrooms to share their knowledge and experience with students in every grade. In 2013, 4,500 volunteers where in 175 schools and spent more than 8,000 hours making presentations sharing their knowledge and experiences. This year, Teach-In will be held on November 19, 2014.
School & District Funds – The Foundation provides district and school support by matching teacher and school needs with investors who want to make a sustainable difference. The Foundation also manages funds for district programs and individual schools -- more than $2.6 million for 63 funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
The Foundation continues to match teacher and school needs with investors who want to make a sustainable difference. Examples include funding a STEM program that teaches gravity, force and motion to kindergartners; AVID tutors at four middle schools; and professional development for middle school physical science and high school biology teachers.