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

December 18, 2019

Foundationannual_news.jpgCelebrating its 10th anniversary, the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation (SPSF) is an independent, non-profit charity dedicated to enhancing learning opportunities for students at Saskatoon Public Schools and celebrating the vital role that public education plays in our society.

The foundation partners with committed businesses, organizations and individuals to support high-impact programs and initiatives that go above and beyond core educational services. During the 2018-19 school year, the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation continued to focus on its three strategic priorities: 

  • Literacy
  • Healthy Active Schools
  • Empowering Innovation

Sponsored once again by a generous anonymous donor, the foundation’s successful Early Learner Tutor Program was offered in 22 schools across the division. Over the past six years, 1,209 tutor sessions have been offered. Our ongoing partnership with READ Saskatoon provides ways of enhancing family and community engagement activities.  

The Summer Reading Camps graciously supported by the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation, donors Saad Rehman and Hekmat Alphin, as well as the school division’s Drive Fore Literacy Golf Tournament, are an integral part of the SPSF’s efforts to support literacy. This year, the reading camps welcomed more than 200 students for a two-week experience designed to prevent learning loss over the summer months. Camps were held in 10 elementary schools across the division and included partnerships with SaskSport, the Summer Snack Program and SaskTel Pioneers. Further, the Saskatoon Open Door Society provided reading camps for English as an Additional Language learners at Aden Bowman and Mount Royal collegiates with SPSF support. 

An important component of the foundation’s focus on healthy, active schools is its support of school-based nutrition programs through the Nutrien Food4Thought Nutrition Program. This past year, the Nutrien Food4Thought Nutrition Program helped provide more than 837,000 servings of healthy breakfasts, snacks, and lunches to students in 19 of our schools. The foundation would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution of SaskMilk to ongoing health effort. 

The SPSF 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 Unit's work in supporting Truth and Reconciliation initiatives and programs, the École Dundonald School language and culture inquiry, youth engagement and leadership at Centennial Collegiate, the Whitecap Dakota Transition Program, the Ernest Lindner School go green room and the Westmount School young inventor’s initiative. 

Other examples of the foundation’s support for learning include:

  • The Cameco Centre of Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Bedford Road Collegiate, which provides experiences for students in pneumatics, 3D modelling, robotics, and 3D manufacturing. The Cameco funds have also 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 approximately 4,240 students, teachers, and volunteers during the past school year. In the centre’s six years of operation, more than 21,700 students, staff, and community members have experienced unique programs focused on sustainable living and Indigenous ways of knowing.
  • Pursuing community-based funding from the Saskatoon Community Foundation to support such initiatives as the Saskatoon Public Schools' Indigenous Ensemble.
  • In 2018, the Celebrity Roast featured notable Saskatoon Public Schools alumni Zeba Ahmad and Greg Yuel. This entertaining evening took place at Mount Royal Collegiate and raised almost $70,000 for foundation programs. In its third year, the Drive Fore Literacy Golf Tournament, led by teachers and staff was a remarkable success, due to the generosity of a matching donor and division staff, raising nearly$20,000 for Summer Reading Camps. This year marked the second year of our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, which raised over $10,000 for the Summer Reading Camps with the assistance of a generous matching donation by Marla and Seth Adams. Many Saskatoon Public Schools staff also supported the foundation by choosing to donate through a payroll giving program.
  • The Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation has undertaken planning for an ambitious $20-million campaign that will result in providing extensive literacy supports to some of the school division’s youngest learners. Through a private donation, the foundation will strengthen its literacy supports by offering full-day prekindergarten and a full-day, literacy-enhanced kindergarten classroom at Mayfair Community School during the 2019–20 school year.

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.