D.36 seeks donations through website
Bob Bergman bags some groceries at Grand Food Center wearing a sticker promoting The Winnetka Public Schools Foundation, which has invited local businesses to help promote it's fundraising. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 24, 2013 9:54AM
WINNETKA — It’s that time of the year again when the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation hosts its annual phone-a-thon fundraiser, but this year generous residents can get a jump on giving thanks to technology.
Interested residents who can’t wait for the Feb. 10-11 phone-a-thon can donate directly through the foundation’s website, www.wpsf.org, by clicking the yellow “Donate Now” button on the homepage.
“The tough job is getting people to answer their phones nowadays,” said foundation member Kitty Bliss. “This year we have launched our first ever effort to really drive donations through our website. You can now donate anytime.”
For more than 15 years, the foundation has been raising money for teacher grants within District 36.
“Teachers are encouraged to look at what’s going on in their existing curriculum,” Bliss said. “If they have an idea like a writing program, reading program, arts, sciences, you name it, they write it and hand those grants over to District 36. If the curriculum director and superintendent say yes, then we fund it.”
The foundation has enlisted the assistance of local businesses to help spread the word that fundraising efforts are underway. That includes employees at Grand Food Center, who will wear yellow stickers closely resembling the “Donate Now” button found on the foundation’s website.
“None of this would be possible without the support of parents in the district,” said Bliss, who has three children of her own attending District 36 schools. “I’m a huge believer in the work the foundation does.”
The foundation recently funded the writer’s workshop, which allowed Winnetka teachers to travel to Columbia University where they researched the college’s reading and writing project. The workshop has been implemented in District 36 and allows students from kindergarten through eighth grade to become more flexible and fluid writers.
“It funds things that go above and beyond our current curriculum,” said Skokie School Assistant Principal Alison Hawley. “It’s been really interesting to see (the teacher’s) research and how it drives some of our curriculum initiatives forward.”
With the fundraising underway, district administators encourage their teachers to come up with research questions and methodologies and see how their proposed initiatives can impact student learning and student growth.
“I cannot begin to express just how valuable it is to teachers that they have access to this type of resource,” Hawley said. “They are incredibly appreciative to the foundation. They know that it’s a luxury not everyone has in school districts and we want them to dream big.”
Early phone-a-thon donations are currently being accepted and residents who donate by the end of January won’t receive a phone-a-thon call in February.