You helped students engage and heal through the arts
“Is the art studio going to be open today?”
If you were to visit Dunbar Elementary School, that’s a phrase you would hear over and over. Because thanks to you, a new art program helps students put their creativity in action!
The art studio is just one small facet of an exciting new initiative called dunbART. With this program (designed and implemented by Kimzin Creative, and in partnership with Creative Bridges) multiple local organizations have coordinated efforts to bring the arts to Dunbar students.
Because of you, students were able to explore everything from ceramics to sewing to instrumental music, and much more. Arts classes have been integrated into the school day, and are also available after school and during the lunch hour.
Dunbar teacher Karen O’Hara, who is also supporting dunbART through a teacher ambassador program, has seen firsthand how important this opportunity is.
“Art is a fantastic way for all students to feel they can succeed. It is accessible for all learning levels. The lessons are engaging and help bring out the creativity in our scholars.”
After the stress and isolation caused by the pandemic, students urgently need opportunities to engage and heal–and we know the arts are incredibly effective at doing just that. Thank you for helping to provide this for local students.
Students learn 21st Century skills, thanks to you!
When you supported a Classroom Grant, you helped put innovative learning tools–like this Dash Robot–directly into the hands of local students.
On November 2nd, the excitement in the air at the Sassarini Elementary School was palpable. A class of 5th grade students rushed to open the boxes of their new learning tools: small Dash Robots, which students could code to move, spin, talk, and more!
The new Dash Robots were made possible thanks to donors like you, who helped fund a Classroom Grant for Sassarini teacher Danielle Wroblewski.
When you make a Classroom Grant possible for a local teacher, you are ensuring that they can provide their students with the materials, resources, and experiences that their students need to thrive. As Ms. Wroblewski can attest, your support makes all the difference for local students.
Ms. Wroblewski runs the Maker Space, a designated space for students to explore STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) throughout the year. All students at Sassarini, from TK through 5th grade, have the opportunity to visit the Maker Lab once a week to engage in exciting, creative, hands-on classes.
While the Maker Space was already equipped with many resources, the new Dash Robots filled an important gap. Ms. Wroblewski commented, “There are very few opportunities for my students to learn to code. Learning to use block code to give Dash directions and complete tasks provides a tangible and exciting use of code.”
Students control the robots through an app on an external tablet. Using the app, they learn the basics of coding and use their new skills to bring the robots to life!
For their final project with the Dash Robots, Ms. Wroblewski will have the students program their robots to participate in a dance challenge. Her long-term goal is to build a Coding Unit for all students to learn and explore the wonders of computer science and programming year after year.
A local parent discusses the impact you have made on her child
When you made a donation to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, you made an investment in the future of over 100 local children.
You provided critical funds for our community’s largest, fully-subsidized preschool. Your gift sends a young student, from a family that needs a little help, to a safe and enriching school environment.
Preschool gives students important opportunities to get the head start in school they need, and to learn important skills as they play and socialize. You have already given this gift to local student Alex. Alex started attending El Verano preschool in the fall. Already his mother, Jenny, has seen how important early education is for her son!
“Preschool has helped my son establish a more consistent pattern and schedule, which in turn has made Alex easier to parent with fewer emotional outbursts. He has also caught up to other children his age in regards to his speech delays.
“This program makes an impact on my son. His speech has greatly improved, and he is better socialized, calmer, and more attentive. It is extremely beneficial to him both socially and educationally.”
“I’ve seen improvements in my son that are near miraculous. He is a more joyous child, and I am a better parent because of this program and its teachers.”
No child should have to miss out on critical early learning opportunities–and because of you, they don’t have to! Thank you for ensuring that young learners like Alex can attend preschool.
It was a day of immense gratitude. Of celebration alongside friends, family, and community. Of reflection on past challenges and future promises.
After a two-year hiatus, we were thrilled to bring the Red & White Ball back to the Sonoma Plaza on August 27. We welcomed over 1,200 supporters and community members to this special evening in honor of our local schools.
The most recent event looked a bit different from years past. Before the SVEF team began planning the Red & White Ball, we paused to reflect on everything our community has been through since the start of the global pandemic – especially our local schools and their dedicated teachers.
Throughout the pandemic, teachers and school staff have been the essential workers on behalf of our children. To thank them and give the entire community a chance to honor their dedication, we flipped the script on the Red & White Ball.
On that special night in August, we gathered our Sonoma Valley community to celebrate and thank the many people who are essential to our public schools and the well being of our local students: teachers, staff, parents, volunteers, and donors who give to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation
Throughout the evening, together we learned about the amazing things happening at local schools. We enjoyed a live program complete with performances by students, while picnicking and sipping a glass of wine. We danced the night away under the stars.
Most importantly, we showed our support for our schools and demonstrated that we are UNIFIED on behalf of our students. And it was such a successful reimagining of the event, we’re going to do it all again on August 26, 2023 – so SAVE THE DATE and see you there!
Save the Date for the Red & White Ball!
Saturday, August 26, 2023
Click the link below to read the third article in our ongoing series in the Sonoma Index-Tribune about Classroom Grants that you made possible: The life of a secondary school student can at times be frenzied and a bit overwhelming, so Kim Bellach, a counselor at Sonoma Valley High School’s Wellness Center, decided she wanted to step in and create a care cart filled with hygiene products, snacks, journals and other comfort items.
Sonoma Valley High School juniors (from left) Emily Galindo and Valeria Lorenzana write in journals they obtained from the care cart at the campus Wellness Center.
Click the link below to read the second article in our ongoing series in the Sonoma Index-Tribune about Classroom Grants that you made possible: Creekside students participated in a three-week ceramics class that, according to their instructor, “allowed them to break through in so many ways. It saw them gain confidence as they let go of the idea that art has to be perfect."
The Sonoma Valley Education Foundation proudly supports the vision of the SVHS student-led clubs GENup Sonoma & Diversify Our Narrative SVUSD. Their mission is to elevate young voices and advocate for broader representation and cultural diversity in education district- and county-wide. The high school students have carefully selected books for elementary schools in order to add to the diverse voices of the classrooms. Flowery Elementary is the most recent school to receive the delivery of books in teachers' mailboxes.
All the books were purchased locally from Readers' Books.
We are sharing the book lists if you are looking to bring more diverse voices to your home library as well!
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika A. Denise
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
The Day You Begin (El día en que descubres quién eres) by Jacqueline Woodson
Ventanas (Windows) by Julia Denos
Don't Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari
Mi Papi Tiene Una Moto (My Papi Has a Motorcycle) by Isabel Quintero
Lola by Junot Diaz
Día de disfraces (Dress-Up Day) by Blanca Gomez
We're Different, We're the Same (Sesame Street) by Bobbi Kates
The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard
Hair Twins by Raakhee Mirchandani
¡Solo Pregunta! - by Sonia Sotomayor
Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
Me llamo María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
El Soñador (The Dreamer) by Pam Muñoz Ryan
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day
La tierra de Las Grullas (Land of the Cranes) by Aida Salazar
Los Cuentos que Nunca Nos contaron (The Stories They Never Told Us) by Myriam Sayalero
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
Las Estrellas Bajo Nuestros Pies (The Stars Beneath Our Feet) by David Barclay Moore
El Color de Mis Palabras (The Color of My Words) by Lynn Joseph
Dear SVEF Community,
I am saddened by the abrupt and unexpected departure of Superintendent Palazuelos, announced at today’s special board meeting. As always, our focus at the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation will remain the 3,000 students and 200 teachers at the public schools in our community. They are the strength and heartbeat of our district and inspire us to stay committed to our mission of enabling the potential of every child in SVUSD.
This year alone, you’ve helped us invest $980,000 in student programs, a show of generosity that we’ve learned remains unaffected by external circumstances, as evidenced by the steadfast support we saw during the pandemic and beyond.
We remain resolute in our commitment to the public education community and are grateful for your support and dedication to our students, now and always.
EDITOR: I want to extend a sincere thank you to the community for showing up in a massive way for the public schools at the Red & White Ball on August 27. More than 1,200 guests joined us for our community picnic, displaying how truly UNIFIED we are in supporting the students and schools of Sonoma Valley.
By hosting this event in a completely new, more inclusive format, we endeavored to celebrate and unify support of the public schools, as well as give every person in Sonoma Valley who has a stake in their success – which we believe is everyone – a chance to participate and feel pride in our collective accomplishments.
We are thrilled with the fantastic turnout and the many ways the community joined with the schools to show their support. Our fundraising goal -- $15,000 -- was surpassed and quadrupled with matching funds from donors and sponsors. While this is a small slice of our overall fundraising commitment of $1 million+ to support student programs this year, successfully meeting our event goal means we are able to bolster the incredibly impactful Classroom Grants fund for teachers and school staff. We're already starting to approve requests from teachers, like Ms. Prehn at El Verano Elementary School, who is receiving multi-sensory, hands-on tools to support her Focused Learning program, which helps foster reading and literacy skills with her students.
We're honored to have welcomed the community to this event for the first time in three years and are humbled by the support we receive to fulfill our mission on behalf of the students and schools of Sonoma Valley. We couldn't do this without the guests, donors, supporters, sponsors, and friends, and we are proud to continue our work of putting the unified in our district's middle name.
Angela Ryan, executive director,
Sonoma Valley Education Foundation
We were thrilled to welcome over 1,200 guests to the 2022 Red & White Ball, reimagined as a community picnic. Guests were greeted and guided by talented emcee Nikko Kimzin, and entertained by the Sonoma Valley High School Dance Team, the Adele Harrison Middle School Dance Team, and Grupo Folklorico Quetzalén of Sonoma Valley. They heard from SVHS History and AVID teacher Andy Gibson about the importance of Sonoma Valley Education Foundation’s Classroom Grants program; from Adrian Palazuelos, Superintendent of Sonoma Valley Unified School District, about the importance of community partnerships with the schools; and from Angela Ryan, Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, about the mission of SVEF to cultivate community support and raise funds to benefit the school district in enabling the potential of every student.
While the format and goal of this year’s Red & White Ball has evolved to serve primarily as a community celebration of our public schools, there was no shortage of generosity from our guests. Through a special opportunity during the event, attendees texted donations and helped us surpass our goal of $15K, and thanks to matching funds from our Business Partners and donors, those funds will be quadrupled. These gifts will go directly to our Classroom Grants program, which gives funding to teachers for everything from classroom supplies to creative enrichment opportunities for students. Thanks to our guests’ generosity, we are already starting to approve Classroom Grants for this school year!
Sonoma Valley Education Foundation Executive Director Angela Ryan shared, “We want to thank everyone who came to celebrate our public schools and help us usher in a new and more inclusive era of the Red & White Ball. Between the continued and immense generosity of our donors giving us the confidence to try a new format, and the amazing partnership of our educators, PTOs, students, and nonprofit partners helping bring the event to life, we feel an enormous amount of gratitude for our local community coming together in the spirit of celebrating students and our public schools. We hope to continue expanding our programming and events to welcome more families and community members this school year and beyond.”
Photo credit: Sharon Neves Photography