On June 13, 2018, Silver Strand Elementary School (SSES) teacher, Susan Larson, requested $39,247.58 via DonorsChoose.org to secure the purchase of 72 iPads, iPad covers, and AppleCare for 298 students. “Our educators are continually seeking innovative methods to engage and instruct an academically rigorous population of students in 21st century skills. The use of iPads will engage our students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.” SSES Principal Jenny Moore explained that, “Susan Larson’s class is in need of updated technology, which is used daily to provide opportunities for students’ individual needs to be met in math and reading.”
Just three weeks later, the project was fully funded. ”What a wonderful way to start the new school year!” exclaimed Larson. “I am so grateful for this very generous gift. My students will be excited to see that we now have iPads to help us learn.” Added Patty Cowan, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Coronado Schools Foundation: “Silver Strand used the funds to purchase iPads and a new iPad cart, desperately needed as the technology on campus is becoming outdated and unable to upgrade.”
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, the sole donor, is a longstanding supporter of the Coronado Schools Foundation. “[We] approached Loews Coronado Bay Resort in 2009 regarding a partnership,” recounts Cowan. “Loews management was enthusiastic and began hosting an annual donor event in the spring as well as donating to the fall Benefit Auction. When Sean Clancy joined Loews Coronado Bay Resort as Managing Director a few years ago, he wanted to expand his support for schools across San Diego County and brought with him an event he has held at his last hotel – Play on the Bay – with proceeds benefitting local public schools.”
Ensuring that local schools stay well-resourced is personally important to Clancy, whose 5-year-old son “has recently begun his educational journey in our public schools. He just started kindergarten!” Many of Clancy’s colleagues also have children who attend public schools in Coronado or San Diego.
This year’s 3rd Annual Play on the Bay charity event, directing net proceeds towards local public schools, will take place on Friday, September 7, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. The public is invited to “enjoy spectacular food, drinks, live music, a silent auction and more in an unforgettable evening on the bay.” Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller highlights that “the Loews event is another example of how supportive our community is across Coronado – parents, community members, our Mayor and City Council, and our Business partners.”
The private sector has had to step in as funding structures for public schools throughout the country face deep budget cuts at a time when costly education technology is increasingly lauded as essential in preparing students for a digital world. While Coronado public schools are not immune to such challenges, they do benefit from a close and supportive relationship with the Coronado Schools Foundation, according to a news post Mueller authored just over a year ago. Funding gaps remain, however, which compels teachers to turn to crowdfunding. DonorsChoose.org is a national charity that tries to fill such gaps. “Founded in 2000 by a high school teacher in the Bronx, DonorsChoose.org empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students,” as stated on its website. Reliance on crowdfunding is currently spiking, with over 76,000 projects seeking assistance.
Silver Strand Elementary remains undeterred by the changing budget landscape in which it finds itself, and it hopes the community will continue to show its support – while having some fun. Says Moore: “I am hoping that the public comes down the Strand [on September 7th] to experience Coronado’s beautiful hotel in this special setting and enjoys a night out with a great cause! And the hotel is offering an incentive to stay the night!”