SMMUSD HDQTRS — The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation received half a million dollars from the Scott Family Charitable Fund, the foundation announced Wednesday.

The gift, from longtime residents, is the second largest the organization has received after a $4.8 million donation from the Peggy Bergmann Estate.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District adopted the “Vision for Student Success,” a six-part initiative focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for every student in the district. The foundation’s fundraising goal to support the initiative is $4 million, and with the addition of the Scott Family Gift the foundation has so far raised $1.9 million. The money will go towards professional development for teachers and instructional aides in classrooms.

Linda Greenberg Gross, the executive director of the foundation, said members of the Scott Family matriculated at Santa Monica and Malibu high schools.

“We are anxious to see the annual fundraising goal for the Vision for Student Success reached this year and every year, and we know the first year is the most challenging,” the family stated in a news release. “We hope this gift will inspire parents and community members throughout the district to join us in providing enrichment opportunities for every student.”

The money is expected to be used to bolster student learning across the board while giving schools the ability to target teacher training dollars where they’re most needed.

“The Scott family’s generosity sets us on a path towards success as we seek to enrich student experiences through the arts, smaller class sizes, personalized instruction, ongoing professional development and more,” said Superintendent Sandra Lyon.

The plan represents a final step in a nearly two-year process to overhaul a long-standing practice in which boosters paid for special classes and extra instruction for schools, leaving a disparity between schools with richer parents and those located in lower-income neighborhoods in the district.

The Board of Education voted in November of 2011 to take the power to raise money for staff costs — like arts classes or teacher training — out of the hands of parents and make it the charge of the Education Foundation, while allowing parents to pay for “stuff” like supplies or field trips.

The foundation’s deadline to raise the $4 million is January 2014.

 

ameera@smdp.com

 
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