By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Public Schools’ Colonial Fund has been established, according to its website, “to fund high impact innovations within our schools that would not otherwise be feasible” due to budgetary reasons.
As such, the fund, which is overseen by Michelle Biscotti and Kathleen Keohane, coordinators of development and volunteer activities, is seeking donations from local residents and businesses. Those donations will, they said, fund programs and initiatives that will help position Shrewsbury students to best prepare and succeed when they go onto college and then move into challenging 21st-century careers.
The fund has received a major boost from Shrewsbury Federal Credit Union (SFCU), which is serving as the fund’s first Innovative Partner. Recently the bank made a $5,000 donation; it also has agreed to match all donations made during the 2016-2016 school year, up to $5,000.
Jim Dupont, the bank’s president and CEO, said SFCU was excited to be the fund’s initial sponsor and hoped it would inspire others to donate.
“We think it’s so important to give back to our schools,” he said. “It’s important to have a well-educated school population. That helps to improve the whole community.”
“Having a vibrant thriving public school system is good for business and the whole community,” Dr. Joseph Sawyer, the superintendent of Shrewsbury Public Schools, agreed.
“Since we must respond to so many mandates, having funds from local businesses for innovations helps us keep our schools on the cutting edge. So we are very grateful for this donation,” he added.
During 2014-2015, $22,000 was raised for the fund through a combination of donations, the annual Road Scholars Race and various “Dine and Donate” fundraisers. Those monies will be used this year toward the costs of expansion of the Fourth Grade Digital Classroom Pilot; the purchase of 24 multimedia classroom projectors for the high school, an expanded subscription to LightSail (a library of over 80,000 digital fiction and nonfiction books) for Oak and Sherwood middle schools and STEM-related classroom supplies for children at the Beal and Parker Road schools. (These projects also received additional funding from other sources.)
The Colonial Fund will be sponsoring an upcoming fundraiser, the first annual Local Artisans and Farmers’ Market, Saturday, Nov. 21, from 3-7 p.m. at the Oak Middle School, 45 Oak St. Many of the farmers and other vendors who participated in the farmers’ market at Ski Ward this past summer will be present, according to Keohane and Biscotti.
The list is still being finalized but the organizers also expect a meat vendor, crafters specializing in jewelry and pottery, and raffles.
“It will be a great way for residents to purchase some fall vegetables for their Thanksgiving dinners,” Biscotti said. “It’s also a nice way to support local businesses and make that connection to the schools.”
“There will also be a game section for kids that will be overseen by some older kids that day,” Keohane said. “They can play while their parents check out the market.”
Proceeds from the table fees and raffle items will benefit the Colonial Fund.
Organizers will also be hosting a two-part viewing of the film, “Most Likely to Succeed,” based on the award-winning book “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation” Wednesdays, Feb. 10 and March 16. More details will be forthcoming.
To make a tax-deductible donation visit: http://schools.shrewsburyma.gov/future/Donate-Now.cfm#donate. A form that can be used to accompany check donations may also be found there.