By Dina Martin
A community foundation that has enriched the quality of education in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District is the recipient of CTA’s State Gold Award for outstanding support of public schools.
“In a time of diminishing resources, the Oakdale Educational Foundation has stepped up to the plate to provide more than $300,000 in grants that have gone directly into Oakdale classrooms and programs,” says CTA President David A. Sanchez. “Some of those grants include funds for art and music programs, LCD projectors, scanners, Smart Boards, a character education program, as well as sponsorship of the district’s Academic Decathlon team.”
Founded by a group of local citizens in August 2003, the Oakdale Educational Foundation has held numerous fundraising drives in the community, such as the “Celebrity Waiter Dinner,” which was so successful that OEF board member Denise Hitch shared the concept with education foundations nationwide. The dinners alone raise as much as $75,000 a year and feature notable community members as waiters.
“We applaud the efforts by the community, local businesses, and the many volunteers who have given not only their time and energy, but monetary contributions to make the Oakdale Educational Foundation a success,” says Sanchez. “The foundation’s continuing commitment to local schools illustrates the kind of public support that is required to give our students and our schools the help they need. The foundation embodies the qualities we seek in State Gold Award recipients.”
The Oakdale Educational Foundation also hosts a grant reception, where teachers are given a chance to present information on their grants. Local businesses are also honored, which helps create a working relationship between the schools and business owners.
In addition to seeking financial support from the community, the foundation has made a diligent effort to form a bridge between families and schools by sponsoring a KIDS SPLASH Showcase where teachers showcase their grants. The showcase not only allows teachers to share their projects, it provides a day of fun for Oakdale families who attend the event.
Some of the projects included in the showcase included demonstrations by the Model UN program; a Readers Theater with books donated by the foundation; a Children’s Garden tour; and a peer conflict resolution program presentation.