From raising more than $2 million in cash and in-kind donations for the Colonial Career and Technology Center to awarding $36,000 in grants to teachers, the Conewago Valley Foundation for Education (CVFE) has been busy this year.
The creation of the foundation for education started when Dr. Russell Greenholt became Conewago Valley School District (CVSD) superintendent in 2015, according to Krista Hayward, president of CVFE.
Greenholt visited the different Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) and shared his vision for the district.
“One of the things he said he wanted to do was start a foundation,” Hayward said. “I happened to be on the middle school PTO when he said that. I said, ‘I’m your girl.’”
From there, Hayward said the CVFE obtained nonprofit status in January 2017.
The foundation’s mission is to support CVSD through “promoting individual and collaborative excellence enabling students to become competent, confident, and creative builders of the future,” according to the CVFE’s website.
“The foundation has been able to connect resources to the school district,” Hayward said, noting that can range from monetary contributions to sponsorship opportunities and more.
The district is “very fortunate to have the group of parents we do on our foundation,” Greenholt said.
“They are all focused on our mission for the district,” Greenholt said Friday. “For that, I am just so appreciative of their efforts and their commitment to the foundation and what we want to do moving forward as a district.”
One of the main projects the foundation has been assisting in fundraising efforts is the new Colonial Career and Technology Center (CTC).
The CTC, set to begin this fall, will train students in trades including machining, electronics, mechatronics, plastics, robotics, graphics, and welding, Greenholt previously said.
“It’s a way to show there are different paths to success,” said Hayward, who backed Greenholt’s CTC for multiple reasons.
Hayward has a passion for manufacturing. Her family started Ox Paper Tube & Core Inc., which is now known as Ox Industries.
“Several of us understand manufacturing is not what it used to be,” Hayward said of the foundation’s board. “There are so many other opportunities in manufacturing now.”
Checking out other area businesses, Hayward was shocked to learn of the number of companies right in their backyard.
Not only has the foundation obtained in-kind and cash donations, some of the local manufacturers offered career-shadowing opportunities and to provide talks for the students on how what they are learning relates to the real world, according to Hayward.
Hayward said it has been “really neat” to see the community get behind the school district with this CTC project.
The foundation is going to help sponsor the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the CTC on Sept. 6, which is invite-only, and the open house for the public on Sept. 7, she said.
For the first time this year, the foundation awarded $36,000 in grants to teachers from the elementary level to the high school in May, Hayward said.
Some of the grants will go to one teacher or a group of teachers in the 2019-2020 school year, depending on the proposals.
The proposals range from programming and robotics to adding Fitbits to the physical education curriculum at the intermediate and middle schools, according to Hayward.
“It teaches lifelong fitness enrichment,” Hayward said of the physical education curriculum addition.
Hayward indicated another teacher sought to bring “tech in the science lab,” which called for adding a computer, projector, and related materials “to reinforce” their lessons.
The high school art program requested an iPad Pro and stylus to show different art techniques, using a projector, according to Hayward.
“It wasn’t a matter of just getting computers or iPads to get technology to have in the classroom,” Hayward said. “All the teachers explained how it was another tool to help them teach their kids.”
For anyone looking to become involved or with questions, CVFE can be reached by email at email@example.com. The website is currently under construction but is located at cvfe.org and will soon be able to accept online donations, according to Hayward.