(Contest Nominee) Boulder Valley Schools’ IMPACT ON EDUCATION Committed to Improving Education for All

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from July 7-21, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results.  Facebook Voting Page

Every school district should have an organization like Boulder Valley School District’s Impact on Education (IOE). It’s an independent nonprofit that rallies the community around promoting excellence, improving equity and encouraging innovation in all of Boulder’s public schools.

Specifically, IOE’s three goals are the following:

  1. Support at-risk students who may need help overcoming economic hardships or learning barriers
  2. Enhance science, technology and math programs
  3. Support innovations in teaching strategies

As a Colorado parent, you quickly learn that resources can be a little tight when it comes to funding for schools. Bake sales and annual fundraising activities help to some degree, but to have an organization that is specifically focused on raising funds to improve learning is truly unique. In fact, IOE was the first of its kind in Colorado.

Founded in 1983 by a group of community leaders, IOE was originally called the Foundation for Boulder Valley Schools. It started as a program to raise funds for basic teacher support. One of its first programs was the Classroom Mini-Grant in which teachers could apply for up to $500 of classroom materials such as books, blocks, overhead projectors or cameras. In 1986 they awarded 14 grants for a total of $6,000.

Last year, IOE awarded over 80 grants ranging from $600 to $1,200. Instead of Mini-Grants they’re now called Classroom Innovation Grants and they go toward software programs, tablets and laptops, smart boards and other devices used to enhance teaching and learning.

Check out the 9NEWS video below about how one program recently funded by Impact on Education is impacting one school’s test scores.

“For example,” explains Fran Ryan, IOE Executive Director, “If a teacher wants to use SketchUp software to teach art or to teach math in a different way, the grant will go toward the purchase of the software.”

With the rapid advance of technology, and the associated positive impacts on teaching, the focus of the original Foundation needed to change, evolve and expand in order to meet the needs of students and educators. About 10 years ago, the organization rebranded itself, updated its mission and changed its name to Impact on Education.

In addition to the Classroom Innovation Grants, the organization also helps fund the following programs:

  • Summer Shuffle Literacy Program
  • Financial aid to help low income children get internet access at home
  • Tutoring and college readiness program for children with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
  • Crayons to Calculators, in which IOE provides backpacks of school supplies to underprivileged students

Another innovative program IOE has funded is the Take My Teacher Home program for kindergarteners. It started about eight years ago, and involves a teacher recording lessons and activities on iPod shuffles and iPads that students can take home in order to help them improve their reading proficiency by expanding the learning day.

“There is research on students that come from financially challenged families that have not had the opportunity to participate in any type of school or any type of activities before kindergarten and they are already behind when they enter school,” explains Ryan.

Another program, called Science Notebooking, helps elementary students enhance understanding of science through the creation of a journal.

In the last year, IOE also donated funds that helped teachers replace materials and books that were lost in Boulder’s devastating floods last Fall. .

This summer, IOE is looking for volunteers to help expand their summer literacy program. Ryan explains that there are currently nine neighborhoods of poverty. IOE has reading programs in three but they’d like to expand to more. Additionally, they are looking for financial support to award more grants and support for students and teachers.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward expanding the summer literacy program “to improve literacy skills among children living in poverty and/or English language learners.” For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ImpactonEducation.org or follow IOE on Facebook.

How to Give Impact on Education a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the July contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about IOE on Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and IOE with your family, friends, and coworkers (tell them to support IOE)

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 15-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – July 7-21, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 15-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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