A small bonus opens school year

For a number of teachers in Kyrene schools, Monday, July 25 marked the first day on the job. The date also brought the start of new-teacher orientation, and as a result of efforts by the Kyrene Schools Community Foundation and numerous donors, officials said, it was a day of both successes and memories

The foundation presented $100 grants, each to be used for classroom supplies and resources, to more than 130 teachers.

In late spring, the foundation launched its first fund-raising initiative for 2005--the first ever New Teacher Start-up Grant program.

Officials say the program was necessary because many new teachers arrive without the resources to ensure that their classrooms have the supplies necessary for an entire year of teaching.

Limited school funding does not allow Kyrene to provide beyond the minimum for classroom materials and supplies. The result: teachers take money out of their own pockets for supplies and resources for their classrooms.

“This important initiative is intended to reduce the financial burden that is placed on teachers for supplies and classroom resources,” said Jim Rhodes, president of the foundation.

Individuals and businesses made contributions to make the grant program a reality. One of the lead sponsors, Tempe Schools Credit Union, sold report cards at some of its branches, and proceeds benefited the foundation.

At the orientation event, foundation board members and volunteers surprised teachers with an announcement about the grants and distributed checks to new teachers.

The foundation works collaboratively with businesses, organizations, community members and the school district to fund programs, grants, scholarships and special projects, providing support to Kyrene teachers, students, families and schools that would not be available otherwise.

To learn more about the foundation or to become involved, contact Johnny Cruz at (480) 783-4174.