Causeway, Community Foundation Come Together to Fund New Parent-Focused Education Projects

Chattanoogan.com, June 28, 2016

The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga has partnered with Causeway to fund two  parent-focused education projects, the Orchard Knob Middle School Back to School Bash, and Essential Spark, an after-school arts and culture program for pre-K children and their parents.

Both projects were finalists in the Causeway Challenge, which asked community members to submit ideas for ways parents could help transform public education. Causeway originally funded ten winning projects with grants of $3,000 each to develop and pilot the programs.

According to Causeway Executive Director Abby Garrison, a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga is making it possible to fund two more projects, both finalists in the Challenge.

“We think it’s important that people from every corner of our community are authentically involved in figuring out the solutions we all want to see in our own neighborhoods and across our city, and this is especially true for public education,” said Ms. Garrison.  “The proposals we received for the latest Causeway Challenge were a clear indication that parents genuinely want and need to be involved in improving education across our community, and that there are some great ideas for how to do that. The Challenge affords a great opportunity to test some of these ideas as pilot projects that can potentially be scaled across multiple schools. CFGC’s support of these additional projects expands the number of kids and schools reached, as well as the pool of new ideas and new leaders throughout our community.”

“We were delighted to partner with Causeway to support parent-focused efforts to improve education opportunities,” said Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga President Maeghan Jones. “We recognize the strong correlation between parent engagement and student success, and the two additional projects Causeway has chosen to pilot will help foster that engagement for a greater number of parents.”

According to Ms. Jones, Causeway’s focus on empowering individuals throughout the Chattanooga community with the tools and resources they need to implement ideas for positive change, both in education and across other areas of critical need, make it an important community partner.

“Projects like those funded through the Causeway Challenge are critical to helping forge a stronger sense of community in and around our schools,” said Ms. Jones, a member of the Chattanooga 2.0 Early Education Committee.

The following two additional projects will join the existing cohort of ten Causeway Challenge winners as they work to develop and implement their ideas in time for the coming school year:

Orchard Knob Middle School Back to School Bash –

Led by Orchard Knob Middle School teacher Jennifer Whalen, the Back to School Bash will bring together school staff, parents, students and community members to plan and host a back to school block party at Orchard Knob Middle School. In addition to providing school supplies and a chance to socialize, the party is intended to help parents take ownership of their child’s education and open the door to longer lasting relationships between all members of the Highland Park community, including students, parents, community members and teachers.

Cultivating the Essential Spark: Pre-K Students and Parents Growing Up with the Arts

Led by local parent and artist Mia Hansford, parents/guardians and pre-K students in the Glass Street area will have the opportunity to gather at the Blooming Pot Daycare one night a week after school and work in August/September to engage in a series arts and culture workshops. Taught by members of Barking Legs Theatre’s Full Circle Teaching Artists program, the workshops will include visual art, dance, theatre, and culinary activities. In addition to providing fun opportunities for parents and children to create and problem-solve together, the program is designed to sow the seeds for creating more arts education opportunities for our community.