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A Note from the Executive Director 

Dear Friend,

It is with pleasure that I send you the inaugural issue of The LampPost, a newsletter intended to highlight the programs and activities of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Educational Foundation (the Foundation).   After many months of creating this publication, we are excited to share with you what MCPS accomplishes year-round. 

For 27 years, the Foundation has made grants to schools in support of instructional enhancement, enrichment activities, technology access and acquisition, and scholarships to graduating MCPS students. In this publication, we are delighted to celebrate the donors who support and partner with us in providing these resources and opportunities for MCPS students. 

I hope these stories inspire you to visit our website, to attend one of our events, or to become more personally involved in our mission.  Few endeavors could offer a greater return on your investment.


Yolanda Johnson Pruitt

The Foundation Welcomes Debbie Driesman to the Board of Directors

The Foundation welcomed Debbie Driesman as its newest board member in September.  Driesman and her husband Frank Islam became interested in the mission of the foundation last year when they learned that 35 percent of MCPS students are impacted by poverty.

The philanthropists decided to help the foundation with its outreach efforts by hosting an event at their Norton Manor estate last June. 

“We chose to open our home because we believe in education as education is the key to opportunity and the bridge to future success,” Dreisman said. “It is the gift that keeps on giving. Education is the powerful equalizer for opening doors to all to lift themselves out of poverty. It is the best investment that we can make to build our next generations of leaders.”

Husband and co-host Frank Islam agreed saying: "I firmly belief that education empowers people. Education uplifts the soul.”  The charitable event marked the couple's first involvement with The Educational Foundation.

Also present for the gathering were County Executive Isiah Leggett who brought remarks and Catherine Leggett, who served as Host Committee chair for the event. Musicians from Bethesda- Chevy Chase High School and Blake High School provided entertainment.

The Educational Foundation is the charitable arm of Montgomery County Public Schools, encouraging gifts and grants in support of the MCPS mission.   Driesman hopes to take an active role within the grants committee and to help mitigate inequities in the access to education.   


GIVE BACKpacks Campaign Distributes Over 14,000 Backpacks to In-Need Students

GIVE BACKpack logoThe Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships distributed 14,740 backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary and middle schools. Top donors included Educational Systems Federal Credit Union, the Cliff and Deborah White Family Fund and an MCPS Family who wished to remain anonymous but generously donated $50,000.  

Just $10 supplies a child a backpack filled with necessary school supplies! Contributions are accepted at any time during the year. Help out! 

Bainum Family Foundation Continues Partnership with MCPS

Bainum Family Foundation, formerly known as the Commonweal Foundation (Commonweal) renewed a grant to underwrite the cost of afterschool transportation at MCPS elementary schools. The grant continues an important partnership that enables MCPS elementary school students to take advantage of additional literacy instruction.

Last year, Students participating in twice weekly literacy tutoring programs with the Bainum Foundation Afterschool Program from Burnt Mills, Cresthaven, Galway, Georgian Forest, Jackson Road, Montgomery Knolls, Roscoe Nix, Oak View and Pine Crest Elementary Schools had afterschool activity busses provided for them free of charge.  

For the children enrolled in this literacy program, the afterschool transportation was a potential barrier to their participation.  “The additional funding for busses ensures that the program is reaching those students who need it most,” says Julia Lipton, the director of after school programs at Bainum Foundation. Read more

MCPS Student's "Mission to Space" Experiment will Launch in December

Area companies and organizations gave a total of $26,000 to the Montgomery County Public  Schools Educational Foundation to enable MCPS middle schools students to participate in a  Student Space Flight Experiment Program (SSEP).  MCPS is one of 24 communities  participating in SSEP Mission 8 to the International Space Station. The design competition  kicked off February 23 and continued through April 24. One experiment from MCPS was selected to be sent into space, and will launch this December. 

 The foundation received a generous $17,000 grant from the Maryland Space Grant Consortium  at The John Hopkins University, which covered most of the required costs.  The additional  $6,000 needed to ensure MCPS could participate came from Millennium Engineering and  Integration Company, Washington Space Business Roundtable, the Society of Satellite Professionals International, Lockheed Martin and Adnet.

The SSEP is a national Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education program made possible by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Students will work to create experiments as part of a competition that will select one or two experiments to be launched into space from each participating community.  Read more            

First Wayne Whigham Memorial Grant Provides Recorders to Quince Orchard HS

 Quince Orchard High School is the first school to receive a $500 grant from the Wayne Whigham Memorial Fund for the school’s Digital Assessment and Growth program.  The school’s music department used the money to purchase ten new digital recorders.  The use of the recorders provides students the opportunity to learn using advanced technology, not just students who own smart phones or recording devices.  Students will listen critically to their recorded performances, assess their need for musical performance growth, and assist in the implementation of student learning objectives.  

“As far as the students are concerned, we are told constantly that our class is the only one out of the entire day that allows them a creative outlet to express themselves, and that it's where they can de-stress or get away from the pressures of standardized testing” said Carla McNeal, the assistant school administrator at Quince Orchard.  

The grant has already  helped  at least 300 band, orchestra and choral students improve their skills.

 Students were able to record their songs individually in a practice room to be reviewed later by the teacher while course instruction continued on.  Students who recorded their own voices were able to perform a critical analysis of their work as well assist students who were nervous about performing alone, by placing the recorder close to themselves or their instrument to pick up the sounds, making it possible for teachers to assess their skills that way. 

The students seemed to enjoy using and listening to their recordings as it allowed them to learn how they sound when they play or sing without teacher feedback. Recording also made it possible for the teacher to listen to the student’s performance repeatedly as well as point out room for improvement with playback options. 

The recorders allowed the students to become more independent and learn from their mistakes as well as see exactly how they sound!  Read more

Discovery Education Continues Fifth Grade Challenge Sponsorship 

Discovery Education is continuing its sponsorship of the Are You Up to the Fifth Grade Challenge? production.  On April 11, 2016, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Downtown Silver Spring, Hall Davidson will once again take the stage as emcee.

Davidson is the director of the Discovery Educator Network. He will be joined by four contestants from the DC Metropolitan area professional community, who will test their recollection of fifth grade facts.  Twenty-seven fifth graders will be cast this year to play along. 

Each school represented in the production receives a $500 grant from the foundation. The Foundation will grant up to an additional $16,000 in grants to schools based on the "winnings" of each contestant.  Find out more about the event here.

Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, Inc.
850 Hungerford Drive, Room 149, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: 301.517.5099/301.279.3432  |  Fax: 301.279.3428  |  Email:
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