Thank you, MECU!

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The LPS Education Foundation was presented with a $10,000 dollar check from Michigan Educational Credit Union on Monday February 13th to benefit the Competitive Edge College Savings Program.  Seen here are Andrea Oquist Superintendent of Livonia Public Schools, Wendy Marquette representing MECU and Paul Condon, board member on the LPS Education Foundation.  “The donation will go a long way to support the mission of the LPS Education Foundation and we thank Michigan Educational Credit Union for their continued and generous support”, said Paul Condon.

Brewing Joy for the LPS Education Foundation

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Dunkin’ Donuts gave away free medium hot coffees to the first 500 customers at their Commerce Township and Farmington locations to celebrate the holiday season on Wednesday, Dec. 21, and presented the Gleaners Community Food Bank with a $5,000 grant, as well as a $1,000 donation to the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation.

The free coffee and donations were part of Dunkin’ Donuts’ national “Brewing Joy” program at select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, between Dec. 12 and Dec. 23.

Thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts!

‘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.”