By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Hundreds of Glendale Unified School District supporters gathered on Oct. 6 at Edison Elementary School – Pacific Park Community Center in Glendale for the 12th Annual State of the Schools Breakfast. The event, hosted by the Glendale Educational Foundation, is an opportunity to hear how the district is faring and includes the presentation of the Excellence in Education awardees.
GEF announced that it would be focusing the next two years on a familiar acronym – GEF – but rather than Glendale Educational Foundation, the letters represented Get Everyone Fit.
“Our three major focus areas are visual and performing arts, science and technology and health and fitness. We focus on one particular area each year and rotate. Save the Music was our major focus for three years (instruments for all the elementary schools); robotics for the past two years and now health and fitness,” said GEF President Toni Beck Espinoza. “The two other focus areas still receive a portion of the funds we raise – 50% to the major focus area, 20% to the other two and 10% to the endowment.
“As we considered our health and fitness focus, we realized that each school had different needs, so we will be working with them individually to determine more specially how the funds will be spent.”
Dr. Armina Gharpetian, president of the school board, said that there is a “correlation between physical fitness and mental well-being” and applauded the GEF for turning its attention to physical fitness of GUSD students.
A highlight of the morning was the presentation of a check for $120,000 by Beck Espinoza to Gharpetian and the district on behalf of the GEF.
Superintendent Winfred Roberson shared a positive message with the audience, recognizing the efforts of teachers and students to make the GUSD strong while offering students an environment that demonstrates it cares for its students.
A film produced by Clark Magnet High School showcased the focus of GEF – Get Everyone Fit – that focused on physical education throughout the school district. A variety of sports, including soccer and lacrosse, were highlighted as avenues for students to get fit.
This year’s Excellence in Education awardees were also recognized. Teacher of the Year 2016 Dominique Evans-Bye of Clark Magnet High School was honored as were Glendale Arts and the Brand Boulevard of Cars for their ongoing commitments to GEF.
A new GEF program was also unveiled. The GEF Honor Roll provides a simple way for donations to be made to the Foundation. By providing a credit card number, GEF can benefit from a recurring donation, furthering its goals to “generate funds to enrich and enhance the programs and projects of the GUSD” per its website.
For more information, visit www.glend.org.