There are signs at all levels that our community is paying attention to our schools. Community funding, donated through the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), is having a transformative impact across a continuum of innovative programs.
More children are attending preschool so they enter kindergarten well prepared to learn; local volunteers help first graders improve their reading skills and confidence by tutoring; funding helps bring Exploratorium Science kits into every K-5 classroom so students learn by doing; and local support helps challenge high-achieving high school students with CAD design engineering classes that pave the way to top colleges. All of this is included in the work and purpose of the SVEF as we seek to enrich the student experience in the public schools of Sonoma Valley.
We partner with our school district with the shared goal of inspiring, educating and preparing all students to graduate from high school with viable options for college and career success. Whether you have young students in the schools or not, keep in mind that 85 percent of all students attend public schools.
Our state spends, on average, $8,482 per student per year, 28 percent below the national average of $11,824. Currently, California ranks 49th among all states in education funding. In California, we spend $47,102 a year for each inmate in our prison system, and a whopping $179,400 a year for a teen who falls into a juvenile incarceration program.
Strong community support and investment through SVEF enabled the district to launch the STEM-based Exploratorium Science Program in our elementary schools, as well as the Engineering Design and Technology Pathway at the high school. Community investment through SVEF is assisting in the expansion of public preschools, now at three school sites. We also help the school district fund School Gardens, Valley Vibes Orchestras, Visual Thinking Strategies, The Summer Reading Academy, Freshman Teams, Teachers Support Network, Schools of Hope and the AVANCE Parent Education Program.