‘Giving Tuesday’ celebrated at LPS Education Foundation Luncheon

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It was appropriate that the 7th annual Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation fund-raising luncheon took place on Tuesday, November 29, a day dubbed as Giving Tuesday.

“Today, we celebrate your gifts to our students, our schools and our community,” said Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Oquist to a crowd of more than 250 LPS Education Foundation supporters in attendance at the annual luncheon held at St. Mary’s Cultural Center in Livonia. “We are better, stronger and more successful because of you.”

The luncheon, emceed by WJR Sports Director Steve Courtney, raises money for the Foundation’s Competitive Edge College Savings Program for LPS kindergartners, which has more than 1,700 students enrolled.  The Competitive Edge College Savings Program offers to set-up a college savings trust account for each kindergarten student in the Livonia Public Schools School District. An initial deposit is made by the LPS Education Foundation and additional contributions are made by the Foundation, as budgets allow. As the child grows, the account grows, giving that eventual high school senior a “competitive edge” upon graduation.

This year’s luncheon keynote speaker was WDIV-TV Channel 4 news anchor Devin Scillian, who talked about his life as a journalist and author of 17 children’s books.  He said his work has taken him all around the world, several times, from China to Russia to Cuba and to eight Olympiads. He’s even been a passenger in a nuclear submarine, twice.

But, the “coolest thing” he has accomplished in his professional life was getting his first children’s book, entitled Fibblestax, published in 2000. He said he will always cherish this book, which led to 16 more through the years.

Scillian shared his passion for books – the real kind, with pages, binding and a cover.

“I love the permanence of a book,” he said, noting that books hold a certain magic that’s waiting to be discovered by the reader.

Scillian’s support of literacy coincides with the LPS Education Foundation’s support for early literacy, by way of elementary school tutoring, and through its classroom grant program, which provides learning tools to classrooms throughout the district. To date, the Foundation has given 62 grants to LPS teachers, totaling more than $138,000.  LPS employees also support the Foundation’s many efforts by contributing designated amounts from their paychecks, through the Champions Program.

“We are very aggressive in supporting the educational needs of our students,” said LPS Education Foundation Director Lorna Durand. “Thank you for contributing to this great success.”

Teachers surprised by LPS Foundation classroom grant awards

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Members of the LPS Education Foundation recently took to the streets on a good will tour, traveling to 14 schools to deliver 19 classroom grants to unsuspecting, but very appreciative, teachers.

The surprise presentations of over-sized checks brought huge smiles to the faces of the teachers who wrote compelling grant requests to fund a classroom project, initiative, equipment, supplies or materials that will benefit their students.

The LPS Education Foundation received 29 grant requests, totaling nearly $83,000 and was able to award 19 grants, totaling $42,000. Now in its fourth year, the grant program is supported by the LPS Education Foundation’s designated funds, community contributions and employee payroll deductions to the Foundation.

Grant requests support the district’s mission, vision and curriculum.

“The day that we distribute the grant awards to staff is the highlight of the process,” said Lorna Durand, who is a retired LPS administrator and chair of the grant review committee. “We are always impressed by the commitment, passion and vision that each applicant presents in their proposal. While the review process is intense, it is well worth it, as we are witness to the staff and student excitement and appreciation as well as to the innovation and success the grants have provided the past four school years.”

Awardees include:

  • Colleen Nowak, Kennedy Elementary: Books for the school’s Battle of the Books program for third and fourth graders.
  • Caryl Dazer, Cass and Cleveland elementary schools: DrumFit cardio drumming physical fitness program.
  • Dr. Jennifer Clay, Roosevelt Elementary: i-Ready math assessment for at-risk math students.
  • Alicia Bashawaty, Kennedy Elementary: Makerspace improvements
  • Patricia Cooke, Coolidge Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Kathy Frame and Natalie Cicchelli, Webster Elementary: Newsela Chromebook project
  • Janice Skibinski, Hoover Elementary: Classroom technology — Chromebooks
  • Jackie McPherson, Garfield Elementary: Literacy materials for Great Start Readiness Program
  • Elizabeth Gostomski, Kennedy Elementary: Flexible classroom seating
  • Elizabeth Hering, Churchill High School: Composer workshops and commissioned work to tie in with grand opening of new CHS theater in November 2018.
  • Megan Bruestle, Riley Upper Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Julie Juenemann, Cooper Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program
  • Karen Grima, Western Wayne Skill Center: Technology for nonverbal and limited verbal students with austism.
  • Lori Marsh, Kennedy Elementary: Adaptive technology for students with visual impairments.
  • John Farkas and Nikki Wojciechowski, Holmes Middle School: Collaborative learning with Chromebooks
  • Kathy Weaver, Johnson Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program.
  • Jacqueline Price, Franklin High School: Books for classroom libraries in English Department classes
  • David Roesser, Franklin High School: Equipment and supplies for drafting program.
  • Sherry Juncaj and Shawn Parsons, Riley Upper Elementary: Character education initiative, ‘Wonder.’

Durand said the grant applications are screened for how much a proposal benefits students. At the end of each school year, the grant recipients share the results of the grants with members of the LPS Education Foundation.

“We have been impressed with the results each year and the positive impact not only on those students but on those schools and the district,” said Durand.

The grant program is just one of several programs of the LPS Education Foundation, which raises funds all year, through community business partnerships and support, the annual fall luncheon event, the LPS Bounce Back to School event as well as LPS employee contributions.

LPS Education Foundation again slated to receive the ‘MODness!’

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Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation has once again been selected to be the recipient of MOD Pizza’s “Spreading the MODness” charitable campaign as the holiday season kicks off near the end of November.

MOD Pizza, located at 13229 Middlebelt, just south of Schoolcraft, will generously donate $1 for every pizza sold between Tuesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 27 to the LPS Education Foundation.

The LPS Education Foundation is non-profit organization that contributes to the success of Livonia Public Schools students and staff by providing funds for classroom grants and the unique Competitive Edge College Savings Program that is offered to all LPS kindergarteners as a way to kick start their college savings. The Foundation also supports literacy in the elementary grades, through a tutoring program that helps strengthen students’ literacy while making connections with caring adults in the community. For more information about the LPS Education Foundation, please visit lpsfoundation.org.

“We are hopeful that all LPS families find the time to stop by MOD Pizza at least once, between November 22 and November 27 to support this wonderful fund-raising opportunity offered to the Foundation,” said Diane Policelli, LPS Education Foundation president. “We’re so very thankful to MOD Pizza for selecting the Foundation as the recipient of its ‘Spreading the MODness’ campaign again this year!”

7th Annual LPS Education Foundation Luncheon

This year’s luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at St. Mary’s Cultural Center in Livonia.  The luncheon will be hosted by Steve Courtney, WJR Sports Director and radio personality, and the Keynote Speaker is Devin Scillian, WDIV News Anchor, author, musician and songwriter.  Tickets are $50 each, (a portion of the price is tax deductible).  Please RSVP by November 4, 2016.  Click here for more information.

Foundation Grant Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for LPS Education Foundation grants is approaching quickly! Applications must be submitted by October 7. Click here to download the application.

Foundation holds open house at LCRC

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Recently the Foundation took part in an open house at the Livonia Recreation Center. Liz Jarvis and Paul Condon are shown here promoting the foundation with a poster, banner and literature hand outs.  Many people stopped by to get information about our Competitive Edge and Grant programs.  “We are grateful to the Parks and Recreation Department for allowing us to participate in this community event” said Condon.

DFCU Financial is in tune with LPS Education Foundation

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DFCU Financial and the LPS Education Foundation are in perfect rhythm when it comes to providing learning opportunities for students in Livonia Public Schools.

Financial support such as that from DFCU Financial allows the LPS Education Foundation to offer classroom grants to teachers who vie for these coveted resources.

DFCU representatives saw, heard and felt, first-hand, the impact the classroom grants are making when they recently visited a Kennedy Elementary third-grade music class directed by teacher Don Stromberg.

Students played tubano drums, which were purchased through two grants from the LPS Education Foundation. The World Drumming program, designed by Dr. Will Schmid, is incorporated into the K-4 curriculum.

“The benefits of World Music Drumming involve many skills that will be required in the 21st century workplace, which include critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and the value of self in the synergy of a group,” stated Stromberg in his grant application. “Drumming also requires students to practice their memorization skills and provides each child an outlet for self-expression. The mind-body-spirit activity has been proven to enhance social skills, mental and emotional health and increase academic performance.”

Research has also shown a strong correlation between music and the development of language arts and mathematical literacy skills.

Local Orthodontists announce decade-long commitment to LPS Education Foundation

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The LPS Education Foundation’s Competitive Edge college savings program would not exist without the generous support from Livonia Public Schools employees, PTAs, PTSAs, citizens and corporate donors such as Drs. Shaw and Jane Orthodontics in Livonia.

Dr. Randall Shaw and Dr. Nicole Jane, Livonia Orthodontists, http://www.TheBigSmile.com, recently announced that their orthodontic practice, located on Seven Mile Road, west of Farmington Road, is continuing its long-term support of the LPS Education Foundation with a $1,000 donation, as part of a 10-year, $10,000 commitment to the non-profit organization that benefits Livonia Public Schools students, staff and families.

“It is this kind of support that makes a significant impact on our premiere program, the Competitive Edge college savings program, which now funds college savings accounts for more than 1,700 LPS students,” said LPS Education Foundation President Diane Policelli.

The unique Competitive Edge program offers a 529 educational trust account for families of kindergarten students who enroll in the program. The LPS Education Foundation contributes $100 on behalf of each student. Additional annual contributions are made by the Foundation as the budgets allow.

Dr. Shaw and Dr. Jane support the idea of giving local families a “competitive edge” in college savings planning and they truly value the importance of obtaining a college education – both having completed eight years of college in obtaining their bachelor’s and dental degrees, in addition to 2-3 years of additional orthodontic specialty education.

“It means a lot to us, to have the support of such fine business and community members like Dr. Shaw and Dr. Jane,” said Policelli. “Their ongoing commitment is truly valued and we are happy to call them our partners in the Competitive Edge program.”

Schools benefit from Community Financial program

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To help bolster local education in southeast Michigan, Community Financial Credit Union announced it has donated funds to a number of school district foundations through the credit union’s Community Shares program.

Community Shares, founded in 1999 to serve communities in southeast and northern Michigan, facilitates donations to school projects, functions and foundations. The credit union has made $25,500 in donations spread among eight school districts in 2015.

Included in this donation were dollars to help fund grants through the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation, the Northville Educational Foundation and the Novi Education Foundation.

Grants also helped the Plymouth-Canton Educational Excellence Foundation, including East Middle School’s music program.

“Our local schools are the backbone of strong communities here in Michigan, and so we feel it is important to give back to the communities that have been so good to us,” said Community Financial community relations manager Natalie McLaughlin. “We know that funding for our school districts is a constant challenge, so we’re happy to help support educational needs wherever we can.”

Working with school districts to identify programs in need of financial support, Community Financial also made donations to the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation, the Northville Educational Foundation and the Novi Education Foundation.

Published by O&E Media 12/3/15

LPS Alumni Directories

The LPS Education Foundation’s Alumni Committee is working with Harris Connect to update our Livonia Public Schools Alumni Directories. Harris Connect is in the process of reaching out to many of our Livonia Public School graduates by post card and phone to encourage them to respond. If you get a phone call or a post card from Harris Connect, mentioning the LPS Education Foundation, it is legitimate. However, even though the LPS Education Foundation’s Alumni Committee has commissioned this project; it is always up to the respondent if they choose to participate.

Harris Connect is committed to offering the LPS Education Foundation and our LPS Alumni the best service possible. In addition to collecting alumni information for the LPS Education Foundation’s Alumni Committee, they will be offering our alumni items to purchase. Harris Connect will be offering a Hardbound edition of the directory, and a Softbound edition. The difference between the two is the cover and the binding. Alumni may also purchase a CD-ROM version of the directory, or a combination of the CD and either the hardbound or softbound editions.

If an alum is not interested in purchasing the printed edition or CD-ROM version, they will be offered the opportunity to purchase a Reunion CD, which contains the alum’s class year, as well as the surrounding 4 class years. In addition, those alumni who make a purchase with a credit card will be offered the opportunity to take advantage of a special magazine offer. Alumni can get a free 3-month trial subscription on up to 3 of their favorite magazines. There is absolutely no obligation for alumni to accept this additional offer.

If you have misplaced your postcard or the phone message, you may contact Harris Connect at:
BENTLEY ALUMNI- The number constituents should call to update their listing is (877)265-0026
CHURCHILL ALUMNI- The number constituents should call to update their listing is (877)293-6853
FRANKLIN ALUMNI- The number constituents should call to update their listing is (877)721-1943
(Stevenson published a directory for their 50th anniversary last year.)

If you would like to contact the LPS Education Foundation Alumni Committee, please email info@lpsfoundation.org