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Foundation's focus on literacy, healthy active schools and innovation

January 21, 2019

annualreportl_web.jpgThe Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation (SPSF) is an independent charity dedicated to enhancing learning opportunities for students at Saskatoon Public  Schools. The foundation partners with  committed  businesses, organizations,  and  individuals to  support programs and initiatives that go beyond Saskatoon Public Schools’ mandate.

During 2017-18 the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation continued to focus on its new strategic plan featuring three key areas:
  • Literacy
  • Healthy Active Schools
  • Empowering Innovation
Sponsored by a generous anonymous donor, the foundation’s successful Early Learner Tutor Program was expanded to 22 schools across the division. Over the past five years, 936 tutor sessions have been offered. Our ongoing partnership with READ Saskatoon introduces parent skills as a way of enhancing family and community engagement activities.

The Summer Reading Camps—graciously supported by the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation and fundraising efforts— are another key part of the SPSF’s efforts to support literacy. The amps welcomed more than 200 students for a two-week experience designed to prevent learning loss over the summer months. Camps were held in 10 schools across Saskatoon and included partnerships with Sask Sport, the Summer Snack Program, and SaskTel Pioneers. Further,  the  Saskatoon  Open  Door  Society  provided reading camps for English as an Additional Language learners at Sutherland School with SPSF support.

An important part of the foundation’s focus on healthy, active schools is its  support  of  school-based  nutrition  programs  through  the Nutrien Food4Thought Nutrition Program. The Nutrien Food4Thought Nutrition Program helped provide more than 725,00 servings of healthy breakfasts, snacks, and lunches to students in 19 public schools.

The SPSF also furthered its focus on empowering innovation by awarding a total of $40,000 through the Programs of Excellence Grants. These grants provide opportunities such as the Saskatoon Public Schools First Nations, Inuit and Métis Education Unit's work in supporting Truth and Reconciliation initiatives, the Buena Vista School “Reaching Out to Make a Change” project, adding band instruments to the Evan Hardy Collegiate music program, provision of a Soundbeam system for students at John Dolan School, the “Bedtime Book Club” at Mayfair School, the École River Heights School “L'alphabet animé” literacy framework, and the Sylvia Fedoruk School “Stewards of the Swale” initiative.

Other examples of the foundation’s support for learning include:
  • The Cameco  Centre  of  Excellence  in  Science  and  Mathematics  at  Bedford  Road  Collegiate.  Thanks  to  the  generous  support of Cameco, the centre provides experiences for students in pneumatics, 3-D modelling, robotics, and 3-D manufacturing. This year, the Cameco funds allowed for the development of a design lab at Caroline Robins School, the purchase of STEM-focused learning kits, professional development activities, and initiatives designed to enhance elementary school-aged children’s knowledge of careers in science and technology.
  • The Nutrien Eco-Science and Indigenous Learning Centre  at Brightwater welcomed nearly 3,500 students, teachers, and volunteers. In the centre’s five years of operation, more than 17,500 students, staff, and community members have experienced unique programs  focused  on   sustainable living and Indigenous ways of knowing.
Another aspect to the foundation's work is to facilitate numerous donor- directed gifts. A donation of $30,000 from the estate of Mr. Durward Seafoot was directed to Princess Alexandra School. This contribution will mean children will benefit from enhanced technology resources and the future development of an outdoor learning space.

The SPSF programs and initiatives are funded entirely by the support of donations. The foundation’s major fundraiser, the Autumn Social & Celebrity Roast raised almost $60,000 for foundation programs.

In its second year, the Drive Fore Literacy Golf Tournament was led by teachers and staff from Saskatoon Public Schools. The  event  was  a  remarkable  success due to the generosity of a matching donor and division staff, raising nearly $20,000 for Summer Reading Camps. A new fundraising event, the Cinco de Mayo dance and social, was well attended by division staff and community members and raised over $5,000 for the Summer Reading Camps. Many Saskatoon Public Schools staff also supported the foundation by choosing to donate through a payroll giving program.

The foundation is deeply appreciative of the support received from all donors and extends its sincere gratitude to the families, staff, and community members who come together to meet the shared goal of enhancing learning for the students of Saskatoon Public Schools.