PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Surry County Schools Educational Foundation continued its conversation with the public about its goals at an informal reception Monday afternoon in the East Surry High School Media Center.
President of the Foundation Board of Directors Brent McKinney opened the event with an overview of the group’s history.
“The rain stopped and we all could be somewhere else so it’s great that you have all stopped by,” began McKinney, who noted the foundation began in 2011 as an idea by Dr. Ashley Hinson, recently retired superintendent of the county school system. “I think everyone in this room is all on the same page. Education is the element that penetrates all areas of society. It is the foundation of a good job. It defines our means and what we’re able to accomplish. We all agree about its impact on our world and it’s (the world is) changing.”
McKinney said education faces funding challenges as well as technology’s rapidly changing effects on society as well.
“This doesn’t seem to be letting up soon,” added McKinney. “We (at the foundation) understand and we are there to help you do what you do better.” He told the participants the foundation would double its allocation of funds to schools. This would bring the total allotment to $25,000 for the 19 schools in the district.
“All of the funds go through the school superintendent,” explained McKinney. “We have broad guidelines for how we help. We want to provide access to educational opportunities for our students.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves called attention to the successful fund raising efforts of the foundation.
“In the two years and a few months that this group has been in existence it has raised a lot of money,” said Reeves. “That just doesn’t happen. It takes a lot of hard work. Public education is faced with a lot of hard educational challenges. The foundation hasn’t placed blame. It’s a group of people trying to support our students and schools.”
East Surry Principal Diane Beane said one goal the school had was to grow its music program which had declined in participation. She said foundation funding allowed them purchase new risers for the chorus in a cooperative program with Pilot Mountain Middle School. She said more students are participating in the program.
“The last chorus performance we had was absolutely wonderful,” said Beane. “Thank you very much.”
Pilot Mountain Elementary School (PMES) Principal Angela Carson said one of the areas the school improvement plan wanted to address was Arts opportunities for students. She said foundation money helped the school to purchase costumes which allowed the students to perform a 50’s style show as well as a Mickey Mouse production. Foundation funds also went to help purchase Battle of the Books titles for students participating in that competition. She said these titles “helped great readers become even greater readers.” The third area foundation funds helped at PMES was in the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program.
Carson said foundation funds helped the school make the program more interactive with the community by being able to get local businesses to offer rewards such as coupons for students successful in the PBIS program. Foundation monies also were used to match an elementary school grant to get Lego activities for students.
Assistant Principal Donna Bledsoe spoke on behalf of Westfield Elementary School and said foundation money went to help the school set up a program called The Gorgeous Girls Club where participants learned etiquette, social skills, and strategies against peer pressure. Shoals Principal Tracey Lewis told the group the foundation’s doubling allotment funds in one year was “tremendous.”
She explained how foundation money helped the school purchase IPads and now an entire class is able to use the devices for research and other educational opportunities as well as to emphasize science technology, engineering and math.
“An IPad makes learning fun,” said Lewis. “Out students are able to switch between IBM and Apple operating systems now which gives them even more important skills.” She said a boys program called Real Troopers had been established to help with preparing them with college planning, financial wellness, virtual learning opportunities and self esteem to help them transition better to middle school. Students in both programs get to tour local colleges and universities as well as visiting the Twin City Chop House in Winston-Salem to practice their new social skills.
“It’s obvious we are all going to have to work together for a better quality of life,” concluded McKinney. “If we pull together and share information we can make a difference.”
Foundation Liaison Melissa White explained how the group raises money through its annual campaign, which will be extended to community members this year, its endowment program, planned giving and events including its Silent Auction at Arts Wow,Academic Golf Classic tournament and a 5K/Fun Run. The tourney is set for Sept. 12 at Pilot Knob Park and the fun run has tentatively be set for Sept. 21. Persons who want more information may contact the foundation at 336-386-8211. The next foundation reception will be held May 8 at the North Surry High Media Center at 4 p.m.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.