Sulphur Springs kicks off education foundation

Third-sixth-grade students from eight schools in the Sulphur Springs School District sing "You've Got a Friend in Me" during the CLASS Education Foundation inaugural kick-off event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Santa Clarita on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
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With their minds set on spurning more creativity, innovation and wellness within the district, the Sulphur Springs Union School District community celebrated the kickoff of their first educational foundation Thursday.

With schools across the state looking at tightening budgets but an ever-present desire to provide services for children, some school districts are turning to the creation of foundations, or nonprofits that raise money for the school districts. The foundations are able to do so through a combination of donations from corporations, community partners/business, and individuals. 

CLASS Education Foundation Board Member Richard Lacy speaks about the mission of the CLASS Education Foundation during the foundation inaugural kick-off event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Santa Clarita on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

SSUSD’s foundation, named Creative Learning for All in Sulphur Springs, or CLASS, will be working toward improving and increasing the number of STEM and artistic opportunities being offered to kids, such as advanced courses or giving every child a chance to play an instrument in the orchestra.

“We have a couple strategic ways that we want to accomplish those goals within those three topics (creativity, innovation and wellness),” said CLASS board President Richard Lacy. “We want to focus on the things that the kids want to do, but there are really limited funds from the state.”

The event, complete with balloon displays, performances by the choir, and trays of food for the public to enjoy, marked a vision that had been in the works for some time, according to officials.

Jack Gomez, 11, plays the National Anthem on his saxophone in the “creativity” demonstration in the library during the CLASS Education Foundation inaugural kick-off event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Santa Clarita on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Following speeches from district administrators, families were invited to tour the Fair Oaks Ranch campus and visit stations that showcased what type of programs and projects CLASS would be working to fund.

For instance, in the “Creativity Room” there were students performing solo pieces on their orchestra instruments. 

“Part of the funding that we get is that kids have access to instruments and the fee to rent them isn’t a hardship. Our goal is that any kid who wants to participate in the band they wouldn’t have to worry about not having access to (an instrument),” said board member Heather Ippolito. 

In the “Innovation Station” there were students showcasing what interesting projects their teachers had worked with them on, from creating their own Alka-Seltzer-propelled submarine, to Lego robots they programmed themselves, to stop-motion films kids had created on iPads.

Lucas Sorrow, 10, left, works on improving the prototype design of a submersible in the innovation science lab during the CLASS Education Foundation inaugural kick-off event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Santa Clarita on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

For the stop-motion film project, students learned about early man and what it was like in their life leading up to their deaths, according to sixth grade Mitchell Community School teacher Maddie Stodart.

Interesting projects such as these, that combine creativity, social studies and science, Stodart says, helps them learn with technology, “but learn about early man in kind of an engaging way and we’re not just using paper and pencil all the time,” said Stodart.

“All kids should have an opportunity to do this and not just a few,” Stodart added. 

For more information about CLASS, or if you wish to get involved with the foundation or donate, reach out to Joshua Randall, assistant superintendent of personnel and pupil services, at the district office at 661-252-5131.

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