You Can Make Miracles Happen for Special Needs Students!
Every day, 21 Occupational and Physical Therapists help
special needs students in Sarasota County Schools with the basic skills
they need to be ready to learn. For these children, physical or
developmental challenges can make simple tasks like being able to hold
a pencil, use a keyboard, or even concentrate in an overstimulating
environment an obstacle to succeeding in the classroom.
That's why the Education Foundation of Sarasota
County is proud to partner with the Florida Occupational
Therapy Association (FOTA) to provide a
valuable and much needed sensory aid to children in Sarasota County Schools.
You can help the
6,200 students in our schools diagnosed with with autism, ADHD, cerebral
palsy and many other sensory based disorders by supporting Miracle at Suncoast on November 19th. Join us at Suncoast Porsche and enjoy a
children’s fashion show, student performances and a chance to meet some of
the amazing teachers and therapists who invest in the success of their
students every day.
for tickets and sponsorship information
Community Comes Together to
Review Teachers’ Proposals
October 20, 2015- The Education
Foundation of Sarasota County brought the community together several times this
month at various locations across the county to review grant applications from
Sarasota County Schools’ teachers. The Foundation’s Classroom Grants Program,
in its 26th year, has received over 400 grant applications for the
2015-16 school year. The demand for the program has been at an all-time
high over the past two years.
This annual signature program has
brought cutting-edge teaching and educational adventures into the classroom.
Teachers from every grade level and every public school in Sarasota County were
invited to apply for grants of up to $1,000. The community plays a vital role
in the Classroom Grants Program spending hundreds of hours volunteering to
ensure that each grant application is reviewed a minimum of three times.
The Foundation expanded the number of
grant readings this year to accommodate the increase in applications from
teachers and to engage more of the community in the process. Education
Foundation founder Shirley Ritchey opened her home to host a grant reading for
longtime and new friends of the Foundation.
Achieva Credit Union, a Classroom Grants
Program presenting sponsor, hosted a grant reading at their Bee Ridge branch
where they invited their members and staff to participate. Achieva employee and
grant reader Janet Hazuda said “I loved reading about the passion that these
teachers have for learning.”
Additional grant readings were held at
the Venice Community Center and the Sarasota County Schools’ offices at the
Landings. When India Monahan was asked what she enjoyed most about the
grant reading experience she noted, “Reading the applications! It is great to
know we have such caring and creative teachers.”
The Education Foundation produces the
program, raises the funds, sponsors grant-writing workshops for teachers,
organizes community-wide grant-reading sessions, and produces an awards
celebration and reception for grant winners. The Foundation engages individuals,
corporations, foundations, and civic organizations to sponsor the grants that
are named for them or in honor of a loved one.
The Classroom Grants Program gives the
community the opportunity to respond directly to teachers’ needs. Sponsors are
encouraged to attend one of the grant reading sessions, are invited to meet the
teacher who received their grant at the Classroom Grants Awards Celebration and
visit the classroom to see the grant in action. The 2015 Awards Celebration
will be held at Michael’s On East on Wednesday, December 2 at 5:30.
Classroom Grants Program sponsorship
opportunities are still available. Please contact the Education
Foundation of Sarasota County at 941-927-0965 for more information.
Jennifer Vigne, CFRE, Named Executive Director of Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.
Sarasota, FL – October 6,
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc. Board
of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Vigne as its
new Executive Director. Jennifer Vigne (pronounced "vine") succeeds
Susan Scott who is retiring in January 2016 after four years leading the
“After an exhaustive search with many outstanding candidates,
we are thrilled to have Jennifer bring her leadership skills and effective
fundraising talents to the Education Foundation. We are committed to prepare
every student for tomorrow’s world and confidently believe Jennifer will help
us realize that vision,” said Jason Swift, Education Foundation Board Chairman.
Vigne is joining the Education Foundation because of
her passion for education. “I can have the greatest impact working to enhance
education for all students in Sarasota County,” noted Vigne.
Vigne is a prominent development professional from the
Sarasota-Manatee nonprofit community who most recently served as Mote Marine
Laboratory’s Campaign Director leading its ongoing $50 million comprehensive
campaign. She also guided the
successful completion of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School’s campaign that
resulted in a new middle school as well as overall growth in its philanthropic
advancement efforts while she served as the School’s Director of Marketing
& Development. With twenty-five
years of combined education, nonprofit and corporate sector work experience,
Vigne received her M.Ed. from the University of South Florida in educational leadership,
her B.S. degree from Florida State University, and is also a Certified
Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Vigne is the
President-Elect of the Southwest Florida AFP (Association of Fundraising
Professionals) chapter, current chair of National Philanthropy Day, a graduate
of Leadership Manatee and Leadership Sarasota, and a recent graduate of the
Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. Vigne
assumes her new position effective November 2.
Party on the Pass is back!
This laid back event is a local favorite, selling out every year. Come relax by the water, enjoy the live music and dancing while raising money for the Education Foundation and Trinity Charities. Stop by the Education Foundation office at the Landings to buy your tickets, or click here to buy online.
Your support helped raise over $50,000 in online and offline gifts during the 24 Giving Challenge. With matching funds from both the Patterson Foundation and private donors, that will mean over $85,000 for Texcellence!
Texcellence Changes Lives- You Can Too!
Texcellence doesn't just
impact students, but the ENTIRE family. Barb Perry (mom of Texcellence intern
Huck) shares what impact the internship had on her family, her sons and their
future. During his senior year, Huck worked in the Education
Foundation's Digital Learning Lab at the Robert and Joan Lee Boys
& Girls Club in Venice. The Perry-Figlow family is just one of many that
Texcellence has helped to change their future forever.
You can change the future for more students like Huck. Your gift of
$25 or more to support Texcellence in the 2015 Giving
Challenge will be matched up to $250 by the Patterson Foundation,
dollar for dollar by the Nancy and John Harris Fund, and triple the impact of
THERE ARE 3 WAYS TO
MAKE A GIFT
Sept.1-2 / Noon to Noon. Go to givingpartnerchallenge.org,
search for Education Foundation and give generously. Or, fill out this pledge form
and we will process your donation for you.
See a Digital Learning Lab in action during one of our Open Houses on Sept. 1 from 4-7
pm at the North Port
Library or the Robert
L. Taylor Community Complex.
PASS IT ON.
Please share this message with friends and encourage them to join you.
You can follow the 30 Days of Texcellence on our Facebook page
and see more compelling stories about the impact gifts like yours can make.
Want to know more? View our Giving Partner
Profile and learn more about the impact of all the Education
Foundation programs.Education Foundation Makes Progress Bridging the Digital Divide for Sarasota County Students
Yes! I want to participate in the 2015 Giving Challenge
FL – July 30, 2015 – Access to technology resources outside of the classroom is
fundamental to every aspect of student success. Florida schools will be
required to deliver half of their instruction digitally beginning in the fall
of 2015. Students are now also required to take at least one online course in
order to graduate high school. More than half of the 42,000 Sarasota County
Schools’ students qualify for the National School Lunch Program. The new
requirements may pose a challenge as many of these students do not have access
at home to computers and resources that foster academic achievement, classroom
success, and preparation for 21st century careers.
The Education Foundation’s Texcellence
Program has provided computers, training and tech support to more than 29,000
students and families in need since the project was launched in April 2007
through home computer distributions, Digital Learning Labs, and paid student
internships. The success of the Texcellence Program can be attributed to strong
community partnerships and generous donors who seek to make technology
resources available to every student in Sarasota County regardless of
Texcellence began with the distribution
of refurbished computers to qualified students and their families –those
eligible for free or reduced price meals who have internet access at home and
complete a digital training class. Recipients receive training for the
equipment, software and programs that complements what students use in the
“Every time I see my son doing homework
on his computer, I think of you. You may never realize how valuable the gift of
the Texcellence computer really is. It is in a sense priceless. Not only does
it help him complete homework on time, it gives him confidence to progress and
set his eyes on higher education...” said Yolanda Casillas, mom of home
In 2013, the program evolved to create
Digital Learning Labs (DLLs) in partnership with local youth-serving
organizations to deliver a highly structured intervention in safe and
supportive after-school environments. There are currently 23 DLLs strategically
located throughout the County focusing on providing access to technology and
resources to low-income, academically at-risk students. The program aims to
have a total of 30 DLLs open by early 2016.
Digital Learning Labs are currently
located at our community partners’ facilities including Sarasota County
Schools, Sarasota County Libraries, Sarasota Housing Authority, YMCA, Boys and
Girls Clubs, and more. Phil Hall, Unit Director of Robert and Joan Lee Boys
& Girls Club and Texcellence partner said “The Digital Learning Lab you
(Texcellence) have provided gives our members expanded access to the internet
for research and school work. In this digital age it is very important for our
youth to be computer literate and the expanded access helps us achieve this.”
Texcellence’s most recent expansion led
to the creation of paid student internships. The internships are designed to
provide 21st century workforce preparation to under served high-school students
who have high potential but limited access to opportunities that many students
take for granted. Most students are identified as ideal candidates by their
schools’ guidance counselors, are diverse in race and background, and many are
participants in college prep programs like Take Stock in Children, College for
Every Student and Rotary Futures.
The Texcellence Program tracked the
progress of 716 Digital Learning Lab students at 13 labs that were open for the
entire duration of the 2014-15 school year. Students showed marked improvements
in preliminary year math and reading grades and increased digital literacy
- 58% of DLL students increased
their Math grades an average of +8.4 grade points
- 56% of DLL students increased
their Reading grades an average of +8.0 grade points
- 80.5% of Digital Learning Lab
students who began “Microsoft” or “Digital Learn” digital literacy
curriculum attained certificates of completion.
- Students participating in Digital
Learning Labs increased the number of hours using technology resources
(for homework, self-directed learning and scholastic research) by 69.4%.
The Education Foundation is launching
the “30 Days of Texcellence” campaign on August 3 to raise awareness about the
progress being made to resolve some of the disparities socioeconomically
disadvantaged students in Sarasota County face regarding access to technology
resources and training. The 30 Days of Texcellence can be followed on Facebook
and on Twitter @educationFDN.
The campaign will also promote the
Foundation’s participation in the 2015 Giving Challenge that will run for 24
hours beginning at noon on September 1. All proceeds raised by the Education
Foundation for the 2015 Giving Challenge will go to support the Texcellence
The 2015 Giving Challenge is made
possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson
Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the
Herald-Tribune Media Group.
Education Foundation Elects New Officers and Directors
2015 – Taking the gavel from Kimberly Page Walker, new Board Chairman Jason
Swift congratulated his predecessor for leading the Education Foundation of
Sarasota County through a successful and impactful year at the group’s annual
meeting held yesterday at the Field Club in Sarasota.
Swift, the President of Swift Construction,
described his involvement with the Education Foundation as a family affair.
Swift’s wife, children, siblings and parents are involved with the Foundation
in various capacities. His father, Jon Swift is a past Board Chairman and Board
Outgoing Chairman Kimberly Page Walker,
Attorney and Shareholder at Williams, Parker, Harrison, Dietz & Getzen, recognized
the efforts of fellow board members, employees, and executive director Susan
Scott. Walker’s remarks included a thank you to Cheryl Gordon, past Board
Chairman and current Board member, for encouraging her to join the Education
Foundation’s Board of Directors.
During the past year, the Foundation raised over
$1.2 million for classroom grants, technology, student awards, teacher
recognition and other programs. The
Foundation awarded $213,265 for 234 classroom grant projects developed by
teachers from 41 different public schools in the district. Its Texcellence
Program opened 23 Digital Learning Labs throughout Sarasota County providing
training and access to technology to more than 4,400 students and their families
during this school year, reaching over 22,000 since the project was launched in
elected to serve with Swift for 2015-2016 were Tom Koski, Vice Chairman; Louis
DeCongelio, Secretary; and Tricia Fulton, Treasurer. New members of the Board
elected to serve three-year terms were Cathi Bell, Chair
of the Education Foundation’s 2015 Evening of Excellence student art
competition and community volunteer; Stuart
Henderson, Architect at Fawley-Bryant Architects; and Jacquelyn Woods, Realtor
at Key Realty and community volunteer. Retiring board members honored
for their service were Michael Bryant and Caitlin Williams.
special guests speaking at the luncheon were Sarasota County Teacher of the
Year Edward Hashey from Wilkinson Elementary School, Classroom Grant program’s
Rotary Principal’s Award recipient Brandon Johnson from Lamarque Elementary
School, and Texcellence Intern, Sebastian Hernandez, Pine View school graduate
and current University of Florida student.
Education Foundation Launches Classroom Grant Campaign with visit from Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton
$100,000 in Matching Funds for 2015-16
The Education Foundation welcomed actor/director/education advocate LeVar Burton to Sarasota County to host a
Reading Rainbow Assembly for students at Emma E. Booker Elementary School on
Friday, May 1st. Burton’s
visit will launch the Education Foundation’s Classroom Grant Campaign for the
2015-2016 school year. At the Assembly Mr. Burton shared video clips with the
students and read books including his first children’s book The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm.
CLICK HERE for more great photos
To kick-off the Classroom Grant Campaign the Education
Foundation has secured $100,000 in matching funds inspiring new donors to support
the program and encouraging current donors to increase their gift for the
2015-16 grant cycle. The matching grant
is made possible through the generosity of Achieva Credit Union, the Education
Foundation Board of Directors, and the Consortium of Florida Education
The Education Foundation’s Classroom Grant program has
given Sarasota County teachers the opportunity to enhance their professional
development, share best practices, explore new ways to deliver curriculum and
advance student achievement for the past 25 years. The Foundation received 456 Classroom Grant
applications in 2014, a record number that was a 41% increase from the previous
year. For more information on how you can support the teachers and students of
Sarasota County’s public schools through the Classroom Grant program, please
contact the Education Foundation 941-927-0965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLICK HERE to see more great photos from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune!
CLICK HERE to see more great coverage fro the Observer!
Community Celebrates 2015 Regional Science Fair Award Winners
represent Sarasota County at the state and international level
Sarasota, Florida – March 27, 2015 – Last night, an audience of over 300 family members, educators and donors honored the area’s most promising young scientists, engineers and inventors with monetary award and other prizes. Nine high school students- representing the six top scoring projects- will have the
opportunity to compete at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida. Upon completion of the state competition, two of the six projects will be selected to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, all expenses paid by the Education Foundation.
John Scalzi, ABC 7 television meteorologist, served as master of ceremonies at the annual awards ceremony, held at Suncoast Technical College’s Conference Center. School Board members, district leaders and fair sponsors joined him to congratulate the 56 students
from grades 3-12 whose projects scored at the top in 21 research categories this year. Susan Scott, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, presented first place awards in each category in elementary (grades 3-5), middle (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students took home more than $5,800 in cash gifts
and additional special prizes for exceptional achievement.
TO SEE A COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
The fair’s major sponsors presented four scholarships to three outstanding high school participants. The Dart
Foundation Award for Medicine & Health and a check for $1,000 was presented to Natalie Olson. The Sarasota High student took first place in the category of Medicine and Health Sciences for her project, “Increasing NO Production of Aromatase Inhibitor-Treated Endothelial Cells via the Addition of
The Dart Foundation
Inspiration Award of $1,000 went to Courtney Astore, one of the overall winners of the Science Fair for the third year in a row. The Cardinal Mooney senior captured top honors for her project, “MEDI-Profiler: A Computational Classifier that Identifies Determinant Chemical Features and
their Influences on Pharmaceutical Drug Properties.
Courtney also took home one of two $1,000 Faulhaber Foundation Prizes for the
Scientific Exploration of Nature for her project. The other Faulhaber Prize went to Sarasota High School’s Rebecca Elsishans for her project, “Mitigation of the Cytotoxicity of Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes Utilizing Surface Functionalization and Non-toxic
CLICK HERE FOR MORE AWARD PHOTOS
CLICK HERE FOR STUDENT PHOTOS
633 Sarasota County students from over 50 public, private and home schools submitted 705 individual and team projects to the regional competition. More than 150 volunteer judges evaluated submissions and interviewed students from grades 3-5 on January 27 and from grades 6-12 on January 29.
Their scores determined the overall winners and winners in each of the categories. First place projects were featured at the Sarasota County Fair in March.
Sarasota High School boasts four of the top six projects that will compete in the state competition. Rebecca Elsishans’ Mitigation of the Cytotoxicity of Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes Utilizing Surface Functionalization and Non-toxic Surfactants; Skyler Haber and Savannah Jordan’s
Cost-Efficient Method to Removing Harmful Contaminants in Water Through the Integration of a Mycelium Based Filtration System; Natalie Olson’s Increasing NO Production of Aromatase Inhibitor-Treated Endothelial Cells via the Addition of Resveratrol; Dylan Burgin’s The Effect of Temperature on Staphylococcus
Epidermidis Biofilm Formation in the Presence of the Human Cathelicidin Peptide LL-37. Courtney Astore from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School placed in the top six with MEDI-Profiler: A Computational Classifier that Identifies Determinant Chemical Features and
their Influences on Pharmaceutical Drug Properties; along with Henry Tingle, Liam Rouse and Peter Florian from Pine View School with Full Body High Stress Protection Suit833.
Sarasota County Schools collaborates with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Fair Association to present the Science Fair each year. Students participate by completing research in science, engineering, math or technology using the scientific
or engineering method. The Education Foundation through the generosity of local donors underwrites the fair, the county’s participation in the state and international competitions, and numerous cash awards. The Dart Foundation and the Faulhaber Foundation are the leading sponsors of the Sarasota Regional Science Fair. PGT Industries also sponsored the
event this year for the first time.
Wilkinson Elementary Educator is District’s
2015-16 Teacher of the Year
SARASOTA, March 24, 2015 – Superintendent Lori White announced the 2015-16 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year at the annual awards ceremony honoring educators, held March 24 at Michael’s On East. Wilkinson Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Edward Hashey was named from among three
finalists, including Russell Finger from Suncoast Polytechnical High School and Christi McDowell-Cameron from Brookside Middle School. Individual Teachers of the Year for each school also were honored. A partnership of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County
and the Sarasota County School District produces the event.
White told the teachers in the audience of educators and supporters, “You are the best of the best. You are role models to our students, and your colleagues recognize what you do every day in the classroom. We celebrate what you do!”
Accepting the award, Hashey remembered being in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, while working on a graphic design project for the Wall Street Journal. He saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He described what he saw and heard as life-changing: “I
was a witness to what happened,” he said. “I heard kids wailing and crying.”
The emotional experience jolted Hashey. He began to examine what he was doing and realized he wanted to make more of a difference in the lives of others. When his wife gave him a pamphlet about a Florida teacher certification program, he decided that teaching in a K-12
public school would be his new career. He never looked back.
CLICK HERE for more photos
“I really just love being a teacher and spending the day with other teachers and students,” he said in February when he was surprised as the district’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year. “This is the toughest job I’ve every loved. To be a teacher is more than a job — it’s a lifestyle; you have to live it. But I get to work with students who are struggling and help them succeed. The work rewards me every day because it reminds me that even the toughest problems can be solved with collaboration and teamwork.”
Hashey has taught for 12 years: eight of them in elementary schools and four at the college level. A U.S. Navy veteran, Hashey earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design and a Master of Education from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. He was an adjunct faculty instructor in graphic design at Ringling in 1999-2000 and at USF’s St. Petersburg campus in 2004-05.
In 2007-08 he taught at Rowlett Magnet Elementary School in Bradenton, then taught at Wakeland Elementary School of International Studies from 2008-13, joining the Wilkinson Elementary faculty later in 2013.
At the Teacher of the Year ceremony, Hashey said he read that good teachers change their teaching regimen at least 15 percent every year, “but like a Sleep Number Bed, you have to find your own number. I try to change things up about 25 percent every year.” He spoke of his enormous respect for his fellow teachers, telling them directly, “You are my heroes.”
CLICK HERE for more photos from the Herald Tribune!
About the Sarasota County Teacher
of the Year Program
The Teacher of the Year program is co-produced by the Sarasota County School District and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and is made possible through the funding and support of community partners.
Hashey will receive a $3,500 cash award ($2,500 from Sunset Chevy Buick GMC and $1,000 from the Education Foundation); finalists McDowell-Cameron and Finger will receive $1,750 each ($1,250 each from the dealership and $500 each from the Foundation). Each of the three finalists also will receive $10,000 worth of instructional technology from the district for their classrooms to support their innovative approaches to teaching.
Hashey will represent Sarasota County Schools at the Florida Department of Education-Macy's Teacher of the Year program and will serve as a spokesperson for and representative of the teaching profession at various events throughout the 2015-16 school year. All 40 individual schools’ Teachers of the Year will receive a quality professional portrait by Prestige Portraits.
20th Anniversary 'Evening of Excellence' raises over $275,000 for Sarasota schools
Top 25 students Talia Ursel, Nicholas Cropper, Maia Zildjian, Kateřina Stehlíková and Anika Hong
Sarasota, Florida – March 3, 2015 – Art enthusiasts and Education Foundation supporters gathered Friday night to show their appreciation of Sarasota County’s most talented high school art students and teachers. The evening ended with a bidding war during the auctioning of Sierra Pittman’s, Breeze on a Sail. Suncoast
Credit Union Foundation, a first year sponsor of the event, won the piece with a bid of $3,600. Cindy Helton, Suncoast’s Executive Director, called Heidi Keesecker, Pittman’s mother, to the stage where she presented the painting to her. Keesecker tearfully accepted the generous gift which brought the art auction to
The generous spirit of the evening was initially evident as auctioneers Jimmy Dean and Jerry Jordan announced that Harvard Jolly would be donating their purchase of Perdu
by Amber Halt to Sarasota High School where Halt is a student.
The Education Foundation’s annual Evening of Excellence grossed over $275,000 including $56,000 in in-kind gifts and a live auction total of over $37,000. Education Foundation Executive Director Susan Scott and Board Chair Kimberly Walker thanked the 400 guests in
attendance for supporting the program over the past 20 years.
Cathi Bell, event Chair, introduced this year’s 23 award-winning high school artists. The event theme was Carnaval de Colores, inspired by Sabino Lops’ popular student piece from last year’s event.
Evening of Excellence is the premier arts competition for area high school artists, a fixture on the social calendar, and the signature fundraiser for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. Proceeds benefit the 41,200 students in the public schools
through the organization’s initiatives and programs.
The evening combines an elegant dinner with a lively auction that puts the Top 25 student art works up for sale to the highest bidder. The program has raised more than $2.7 million for schools, students and teachers since 1996.
Awards of $500 to $1,000 were presented to each of the Top 25 students, who represented every public high school in Sarasota County. In addition, more than $40,000 in monetary and in-kind donations was awarded to the student artists and high school art departments this year.
| Mike and Evelyn Bryant and Shirley Ritchey
Sierra Pittman with the evening's top selling piece, Breeze on a Sail
Click here to see the full list of student artists and art awards.
For more great photos and Media coverage, click the links below!
Join us for the 20th Annual Evening of Excellence- Carnaval de Colores
Join us as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this innovative competition and event, showcasing the talents of the best high school artists. All proceeds support Sarasota County schools through the work of the Education Foundation!
Friday February 27, 2015
Michael's On East
Cocktails and Art Viewing- 6pm
Dinner and Art Auction -7pm
Click here to view the Top 25 student art pieces
Click here to buy tickets