Thank you to ‘Hands Across Corvallis’ guests

We would like to thank the individuals and businesses who helped make the recent ‘Hands Across Corvallis’ benefit breakfast a great success.

This event, held Feb. 2 at Corvallis High School, garnered support for the foundation’s mission to support local schools and inspire learning for a lifetime.

Many 509J students helped make the event memorable, especially Destiny Hulse, a senior at College Hill High School, who offered a heartfelt testimonial that opened our eyes to the issue of homelessness among students in our community.

Thanks also to Damon Cochran-Salinas, a senior at Corvallis High School, for his outstanding marimba performance; to the CHS Leadership students for greeting and assisting guests; and to Linus Pauling and Cheldelin middle school art students and their teachers, Claudia Hall and Dana Monroe, for providing centerpieces for the tables.

Our sponsors, without whom the event would not have been possible, included title sponsor Barker-Uerlings Insurance; grand sponsors Benton County Schools Credit Union, North Point Dental, Ollerenshaw Wealth Management, Oregon State Credit Union, Special Occasions, and Town & Country Realty; and honor sponsors Central Willamette Community Credit Union, Citizens Bank, Devco Engineering, Gerding Companies, Les Schwab, Pacific Power, The Barbers, and Wilson Motors.

When personal tragedy struck our student speaker the day before the event, our video sponsor, Horsepower Productions, graciously and ingeniously found a way she could still participate. Thanks also to the Forks & Corks Catering team for providing breakfast. We commend all of these businesses for their support of K-12 education.

To the 300 guests who helped us exceed our fundraising goals, we thank you for your generosity and enthusiasm.

Anissa Arthenayake, Chair

A Note of Appreciation

The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation would like to thank the many educators who have been hard at work this summer offering supplemental programming to students across our school district.

At the high school level nearly 100 students recovered missing credits critical to graduation; emerging bilingual students practiced English vocabulary; and freshman AVID cohorts gathered for a “boot camp” to hone their study skills. Incoming sixth graders brushed up on their math facts (for three hours a day!). Small groups of primary school students received math and literacy instruction, and kindergarten teams prepared to nurture students’ social and emotional success through a Kindergarten Academy.

Even as weather-related make-up days shortened summer break by a week, teachers of summer programs dove in early to ensure that students return to school confident and prepared this fall. We appreciate their efforts.

None of these programs would have been possible without the generosity of the community. We owe our thanks to Starker Forests, Hewlett-Packard, Duerksen and Associates, Town and Country Realty, Pacific Power, INTO Oregon State University, Barker Uerlings Insurance, CH2M Hill, Citizens Bank, Corvallis Radiology, Samaritan Health Services, Oregon State Credit Union, The Corvallis Clinic, L&M Welding, Edward Jones, Stover Neyhart Yee and Co., and various individual donors for making these opportunities available to 509J students.

This is the fifth year that local businesses and individuals have supported K-12 academic opportunities during the summer. The impact of their investment is evident in rising graduation rates.

As one educator put it, “It is our hope that these students return to school this fall with a positive “I can” in their hearts!” We wholeheartedly agree.

Anissa Arthenayake, Board Chair and Liv Gifford, Executive Director

Learning Enrichment Grants — Now Open for Application

We are currently accepting applications for 2017-18 Learning Enrichment Grants. These grants are open to all school district employees. Applicants must seek principal or building administrator approval before submission. To apply, complete an application by October 9.  Awardees will be notified by early December and must complete their projects by the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Learning Enrichment Grants are typically $200 to $1,000. The following factors will strengthen your proposal:

  • Fosters deeper learning and engagement of students
  • Promotes use of innovative academic methods and projects (and may include field trips, books, supplies, professional development, food, etc. critical to project success)

This year the selection committee will also fund a limited number of grant proposals between $1,000 and $5,000. The following factors will strengthen larger proposals:

  • Benefits historically underserved and underrepresented student groups
  • Promotes equity and inclusion, peace studies, sustainability, youth mental health, and/or STEM
  • Incorporates collaboration with other classrooms and/or schools; demonstrates student leadership and involvement

To learn more, view the list of past grants funded by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation.

Thank you! Please feel free to contact the Foundation if you have questions.

Foundation ups funding for summer programs

We are pleased to announce that we will provide $55,872 to address critical transitions and milestones for k-12 students this summer.

Programs will focus on boosting skills and confidence among incoming kindergartners, 6th graders, 9th graders, and emerging bilingual high school students, in addition to providing the standard opportunities to meet high school graduation requirements.

This year’s budget for summer programs is $10,000 more than last year and programs are expected to serve nearly 500 students. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Up to 100 incoming kindergartners across the district will be invited to attend Kindergarten Academy, a three-week program for students who did not attend preschool or who are learning English for the first time.
  • Select incoming second, third, and fourth graders at Mountain View and Wilson Elementary Schools will have an opportunity to boost reading and math skills to combat the summer slide.
  • Up to 60 incoming sixth graders from both Linus Pauling and Cheldelin Middle Schools will be invited to attend a summer math camp located at Linus Pauling Middle School.
  • Incoming 9th graders who have opted to join AVID will be invited to a late August summer camp to jumpstart their high school experience.
  • Emerging bilingual students at Corvallis High School may opt to participate in camps designed to accelerate language acquisition.

Since 2013 the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation has pursued a strategic vision to help more Corvallis students stay on track for high school graduation. Since that time, graduation rates have climbed from 67.5 to over 80 percent, due in part to summer programs.

“Summer programs are truly an example of community partnership,” said CPSF Chair Bill Humphreys, Jr. “We’re pleased to be able to make these educational opportunities available to students.”

Families who are interested in learning more about programs at Corvallis public schools this summer should contact their school principals for further information.

Third 2017 Golden Apple Awardee Announced

We presented the third of four 2017 Golden Apple Awards to Kathee Kunke, Operations Assistant at College Hill High School today. Congratulations, Kathee!

A brief excerpt from her nomination: “In the world of alternative education, creativity and thinking outside the box are our guiding principles. We need to be sure that we are doing whatever it takes to ensure the success of every student. Kathee is at the heart of our creative efforts at College Hill, but she also keeps us in line with the law, district policy, and the best interest of the student. She keeps our building safe, secure, and beautiful. Often staying late and taking on tasks that most staff do not even know about, Kathee is willing to give of herself in deep, sacrificial ways to provide opportunities for all staff and students to experience success.

Every student in our building knows who Kathee Kunke is, but more importantly every student is known by her. Kathee not only greets every student, every morning, by name, she connects with them. No student is invisible to her! Kathee’s ability to listen to our students, to know our students, and recall specific details in each of their young lives is astonishing…. As our building’s OA she is inexhaustible in her willingness to support all staff members. From making appointments, to ordering classroom materials, to lining up transportation and lunches for fieldtrips, to solving tech issues, her list goes on and on how she truly makes all of our jobs easier…. We would not be the program we are without Kathee.”

Second 2017 Golden Apple Awardee Announced

We surprised Sarah Thompson at Lincoln Elementary School with the second of four 2017 Golden Apple awards this morning. Congratulations, Sarah!

Her nominee writes, “Sarah Thompson is magic, plain and simple. She uses data and love to drive all of her instruction. She collaborates with everyone in the building to ensure equity in learning opportunities for ALL kids. Her success is evident in our building data, and more importantly, in the smiles of the kids she works with.

Ms. Thompson has a unique relationship with EVERY student who is lucky enough to have her in their classroom. Her level of enthusiasm is unparalleled – in everything she does! She leads our assembly dances, as well as weekly Zumba Intercambio classes – the chance for parent Spanish-speakers and English-speakers to dance together and practice language together. She spends her spare time finding new and engaging ways to learn WITH the kids, and is always current on latest research and teaching techniques in her field. You would be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate or dedicated to helping language learners. Sarah has been an incredible gift to Lincoln, and her positive impact on students will last far past their time spent here.”

Sarah is shown below with her parents and fiance, Foundation Executive Director Liv Gifford, Superintendent Ryan Noss, and Mr. Ken Pastega.

First 2017 Golden Apple Awardee Announced

We presented the first of four 2017 Golden Apple Awards to Amanda Filloy Sharp this morning for her outstanding contributions to Corvallis High School. Congratulations, Amanda!

A passionate and gifted teacher, Amanda not only coordinates the CHS dual language immersion (DLI) program, but she personifies it. She devoted countless hours to developing the DLI program, creating the curriculum and developing the capstone class as a culminating experience for DLI seniors. Amanda is a champion of bi-literacy and was a leader at the state and district level in making the Seal of Bi-Literacy a reality for our graduating students.

Clearly, Amanda does a lot for her program. More important, though, is what she does for her students. Amanda intuitively and authentically connects with students, she models a culturally-responsive and respectful classroom, and she challenges her students to take responsibility for their learning. Amanda is a champion for diversity and equity and is universally respected by students, parents, and staff.

Foundation thanks supporters of Hands Across Corvallis breakfast

The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation would like to thank the individuals and businesses that helped make our recent “Hands Across Corvallis” benefit breakfast a success. This event, held on February 3rd at Corvallis High School, garnered support for enrichment grants, academic interventions, and students navigating poverty.

Our grand sponsors, without whom the event would not have been possible, included Oregon State Credit Union, Subaru of Corvallis, CH2M Hill, and Wells Fargo Advisors. Other sponsors were Benton County Schools Credit Union, Citizens Bank, Corvallis Radiology, Devco Engineering, Footwise, Horsepower Productions, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Precision Approach Engineering, Special Occasions, Town & Country Realty, Woodstock Enterprises, and The Barbers. Thanks also to Kate Lynch and her Forks & Corks Catering team for providing breakfast. We commend all of these businesses for their support of local schools.

Many 509J students helped make the event memorable, especially Jonathan Rodriguez and Brian Ixtlahuac of the Corvallis High School Class of 2016, who made powerful and heartfelt speeches. Thanks also to the Corvallis High School Leadership students for greeting and assisting guests, Linus Pauling Middle School art students and their teacher Claudia Hall for providing centerpieces for the tables, and CVTV broadcast media students for recording footage of speakers. Crescent Valley High School senior David So of f/4 films and fotography shared his photographic talents.

To the 260 guests who braved the freezing rain to join us for breakfast, we thank you for your generosity and enthusiasm.

Bill Humphreys, Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Liv Gifford, Executive Director

Foundation grants $62,600 to schools this fall

We are pleased to provide $37,600 for projects and programs and $25,000 for students experiencing poverty and homelessness across the district.

These grants reflect the Foundation’s efforts to reduce barriers to education for low-income students, improve graduation rates, and offer enrichment opportunities across all Corvallis public schools.

Grants will support a wide array of projects across 12 schools, from art and music, to literacy, science, specialty equipment, and professional development for teachers. Some will fund programs designed to boost graduation rates, such as AVID and after-school tutoring.

“We are pleased to direct resources toward areas that are making a real difference for students,” said Foundation Chair Bill Humphreys, Jr. “These funds a critical part of how the Foundation supports our schools through innovative programs and professional development opportunities.”

While funds for students navigating poverty are allocated to schools according to need, classroom and school grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Applicants are asked to demonstrate the importance of the project and impact on student learning. Priority is given to projects that will benefit the greatest number of students and that can be shared with other teaching professionals.

$25,000 in foundation funds are designated to assist students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch or who are experiencing housing instability. These funds provide support for health and hygiene supplies, tutoring, food, clothing, and other resources to facilitate full participation in school.

Thank you to all our donors and supporters for making these grants possible!




Goals Statement: Celebrating 20 years

Dear reader:

This year, the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation is commemorating its 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades, we have:

  • Channeled nearly $10 million in private donations into public schools across Corvallis
  • Provided nearly $500,000 in small grants to teachers
  • Awarded more than 80 Golden Apple Awards to outstanding teachers and staff
  • Supported students experiencing poverty in numerous small and large ways.

As we take stock of how we have evolved as an organization, we offer this set of goals for growth and impact in the coming years:

  • Expand our Learning Enrichment Grants program for teachers/staff (grants of $200-$1,000)
  • Add a category of larger grants for district administrators and principals (grants of $1,000 to $5,000)
  • Sustain our support for summer programs (approximately $45,000 per year)
  • Seek ever more effective avenues of supporting students navigating poverty and housing instability.

This fall we also launched the Better World Endowment for Equity and Inclusion with an initial gift of $50,000 from Gifts for a Better World. We are committed to matching this seed money over the next two years to ensure that we have a means — from now on — of supporting historically underserved and underrepresented students.

Our priorities — especially equity and excellence — are shaped and guided by our Board of Trustees and our ongoing collaboration with the Corvallis School District. They reflect our commitment to our donor community to assess and address needs across 13 schools, and to do what we can to create pathways to graduation for each and every student.

Thank you for your support as we embark on our next 20 years.


Liv Gifford, Executive Director