Grant will fund Middle School Arts Academies for two years

Branciforte Middle School Science Exploratory class

Foundation support for the after school Arts Academies at Mission Hill and Branciforte Middle Schools received significant validation with the news that the David and Lucille Packard Foundation has awarded $60,000 to help fund the programs through 2012.  In 2009, the Santa Cruz Education Foundation received a $30,000 Packard Foundation grant for the Arts Academies; the resulting success and impact led an invitation to reapply for an extended term, bringing the grant up to a 3-year, $90,000 award.

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation sought the funding to help mitigate the exclusive focus of the federal No Child Left Behind policy on English and math. That narrow scope, coupled with punitive measures for schools facing challenges leads to resource shortages for enrichment offerings and science courses, especially impacting at-risk middle school students.  Enrichment offerings not only keep students engaged and interested in school, they’re important for accessing college prep courses in high school. Adequate preparation in middle school science courses is considered the gateway to high school college preparatory curricula. The Packard grant helps keep middle school students engaged in school and on the track for post-secondary education.

Mission Hill Jewelry Class

“We’re thrilled the Packard Foundation continues to recognize the Education Foundation’s strong commitment to providing middle school students with college preparatory support,” said Suz Howells, Santa Cruz Education Foundation President. “Thanks to this support, our students will have access to classes in the visual, performing and applied arts, and we will be able to provide additional science fundamentals. It is programs like these that are the key to ensuring all of our students are college-ready and prepared to access post-secondary education and career opportunities.”

Branciforte Ukulele Construction Class

Mission Hill students create Bamboo Flutes with Shelley Phillips

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation is grateful to the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for their generous support of this program and for acknowledging the importance of enrichment and science to our students.