New leadership at the Foundation

We are pleased to share that Liv Gifford has been hired as the new Executive Director of CPSF. Former director Brenda Downum-VanDevelder left that post in June to accept a new position with the Corvallis School District.  Ms. Gifford’s experience includes research and evaluation, strategic planning, and fundraising through grant writing and developing donor relationships.

“We are extremely excited to have Liv join the Foundation,” said Dr. Karen MacEwan, chair of the CPSF Board of Trustees. “With her deep passion for public education and years of experience in non-profit development and fundraising, she will continue to advance our mission to unite private donors with public education to provide the best possible education for Corvallis students.”

Welcome Liv!

Graduate All Night Party- thank you volunteers and donors!

The Graduate All Night Party planning committee will be shifting into high gear in April. This year, more than 600 seniors at Corvallis High and Crescent Valley High are making their way towards high school graduation on June 8, 2015. The Graduate All Nigh Party is a safe, fun, and sober celebration for all high school graduates from Corvallis public high schools. We sincerely thank all volunteers and donors for your support. Businesses contributing $250+ include the following: Rick Gerber, Magician, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Barker Uerlings Insurance,  Hollingsworth and Vose Company (formerly Evanite Corp.), Chipotle, Dutch Brothers Coffee, Le Patisserie, and Pepsi of Corvallis. Dozens of individuals and area businesses have also contributed to make this special event possible. Donations and volunteers are still needed. Contact GANP organizers to get involved. Thank you!

Spring celebration of student artists

The community is invited to view student artwork at the Learn.Imagine.Create. District-wide art exhibit at the Guistina Gallery, located in the LaSells Stewart Center at OSU. Representing all 509J schools and more than 250 student artists, this collection will be displayed from February 27 through March 10.  An artist reception will be hosted by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation on Thursday, March 5 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Art education in Corvallis schools is supported through general funds, parent fundraising activities, private donations, the CPSF Learning Enrichment Grants program, and through the Zel Brook Art Project Endowed Fund. Additional community support has been provided by the Benton County Cultural Coalition, Umpqua Bank Community Grants Program, and The Arts Center, Artist-in-Residence program. We appreciate your generous support!

So long Spring for Kids

After 10 years, we are bidding a fond farewell to the Spring for Kids run and walk held annually in the (typically) rainy month of March. We are grateful to participants, volunteers, and sponsors for their decade of support. Special thanks to community parent and volunteer Cathy Peters and founding sponsor Carol Lee Woodstock for championing Spring for Kids from day one!

Woodstock's Spring for Kids Run 2010

This event has been a primary fundraiser for the Foundation’s classroom grants program and our goal is to re-imagine a new fundraising event that will involve more participants from our schools and community and raise even more funds to support Corvallis students.

In the early years, Spring for Kids was one of only a handful of fun runs held in the spring.Discussions began last summer for a new event and details will be announced as those plans are finalized.

Learning Enrichment Grants to benefit ten Corvallis schools

The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation is pleased to announce 14 grants awarded to educators through the Learning Enrichment Grants for pilot programs, equipment, supplies or school programs. Examples of this year’s funded grants include classroom enhancements and equipment, a shared set of risers for elementary school choral performances, and a peer to peer learning project with a sister school in Kenya in partnership with OSU researchers and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory ( Congratulations to this year’s 2014-15 Grant recipients!

The CPSF Learning Enrichment Grants are supported by individual donors and endowed funds including the Barbara E. Fry Fund, the Doris L. Myers Fund, and the Zel Brook Art Project Fund.


Learning Enrichment Grant applications for educators available this week!

We are happy to announce this grant opportunity for 509J teaching staff this fall. Grant applications are due by midnight, November 11, 2014. CPSF is committed to supporting our educators to engage students in classroom projects and school programs that foster stronger connections with school, student collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and hands-on projects. Grant applications must be pre-approved by your building administrator and are reviewed and selected by the Grants Committee, comprised of members of the CPSF Board of Trustees. Grant awards will be announced in late November.

Please read the guidelines and contact Foundation staff if you have any questions about eligible projects. Grant applications will be e-mailed to all teaching staff on October 24 and must be submitted via e-mail using the grants form. Grant funding criteria have been updated, please review our guidelines before submitting a grant this year. Learning Enrichment Grants guidelines for applicants

Improving graduation rates, one student at a time

Working in partnership with the Corvallis School District, the goal of the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation is to make it possible for all students to participate fully in school and to succeed academically. Data indicates that students who are not meeting grade level proficiencies in primary grades will continue to lag as they advance to high school. Additionally, students with disabilities and students who are economically disadvantaged score significantly lower than average at all grade levels.  Additional resources provided through private donations are making the difference for these students.

In early 2013, principals at both high schools identified the need for more time for some students to build skills in math and writing in order to graduate.  Since that time, with funding from the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation, more than 400 have students attended summer school, earned credits, and gained academic confidence in a small class setting. This is the type of targeted approach that is possible with private donations. Our vision is to continue to fund targeted interventions for students during the summer months and to work with school district leadership to explore other programs that will help students stay on course to high school graduation.

Linus Pauling Math Lab adds up for students

Linus Pauling Middle School students received extra math support from a program funded by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation. The Linus Pauling Math Lab opened in September 2013 and was available to students before school to build their math skills and self-confidence, without interrupting their regular class schedule. “This type of support is effective for students and the school district as it leverages existing resources for maximum impact,” said Corvallis Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Brenda VanDevelder.

Individual tutoring is a big shift for students, said Linus Pauling Principal Eric Beasley. The Math Lab provides opportunities for better student assessment and instructional enrichment. It also has had a ripple effect as best practices are now being replicated in other math lab classrooms. Students are entering middle school with skill gaps and 30% are entering 6th grade without the skills needed for math classes. Linus Pauling provides individualized math support during four “extended learning” periods during the school day, but some students don’t have that “extra” period and the before school option is a critical offering. In its first year, the Math Lab served 76 students, with 13 students participating in the before school option.

The Linus Pauling Math Lab was made possible through the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation with a $10,000 grant funded last fall by the CH2M HILL Foundation. CH2M HILL is a global engineering employer and is committed to developing greater diversity in engineering candidates. Mastery of math and science in middle and high school is a critical step on that path.

For many students, math is a hurdle to overcome. Math lab teachers work to creatively motivate students with incentives to complete mini-goals using Khan Academy and other on-line resources on their tablet devices. These practices have carried over to the other math intervention classes within the school, impacting four additional math classes.

According to Principal Beasley, “One of our Math Lab students came in at a fourth grade level in math. She has diligently attended the Math Lab and set a goal to be proficient for her grade level by the end of the year. In only two months, she has gained nearly two grade levels in her math skills.” This demonstrates how a targeted approach can make a significant impact on student achievement. “This tiered approach is keeping kids in core instruction and providing additional intervention to fill identified skill gaps, build number fluency and gives students practice with their current math coursework. This is making a difference for our kids.”


Spring for Kids- growing each year!

Thanks to the sponsors, participants, and volunteers for your support of the Spring for Kids Run/Walk and Healthy Moves Expo! 325 runners and walkers crossed the finish line, raising more than $11,000 for Corvallis students. Thank you to local businesses including founding sponsor Woodstock’s Pizza, PacificSource Health Plans, Corvallis Radiology, The Corvallis Clinic, Pacific Power, Samaritan Health Services, Barker Uerlings Insurance, Benton County Schools Credit Union, Heresco Chiropractic, CH2M Hill, The Barbers,
WINCO, and Les Schwab Tires. A special thank you to community volunteer Cathy Peters who founded the race eleven years ago and continues to volunteer and provide leadership for this event.  This year, students from OSU athletics joined the 2k k-5 age participants as course buddies. Complete race results are here.

OSU athletes and Malachi Trimmer 4 yrs


509J Student Art Exhibit at OSU

It is a beautiful sight to see art work from students k-12 in one big exhibit! Thank you to the LaSells Stewart Center staff for helping us showcase student art work.

The 509J District-Wide Student Art Exhibit opened at the Guistina Gallery, in OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center on January 28 and runs through February 8. This exhibit was made possible by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation and was funded in part by a grant from the Benton County Cultural Coaltion, with funds provided through the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Art education in our schools matters. For some students, art is the place where they make connections to deeper learning, where they find a true place of expression, and where they see their talents come to life. The arts are a critical pathway to learning. There is plenty of data that shows us that students respond to a learning environment that includes a strong arts component.

Thank you to our arts specialists in Corvallis public schools and the artist-in-residence instructors. Special thanks to The Arts Center, for the art education opportunities provided at Garfield and Lincoln Elementary Schools and College Hill High School.  Art educators are the people who work at the intersection of learning and creating, who provide students with the 21st century skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and innovating solutions.  And a final thank you to the students of the Corvallis public schools. Thanks for sharing more than 400 pieces of art with the community in this annual exhibit!