ENGAGE is the newsletter of the Head of School. His message to parents is reproduced here.
There are many ways that families give to PBS, including volunteering through the PBSA and their room parents, as well as by participating in our philanthropic giving programs. Thank you for your generosity and support at all levels. We sometimes hear that families are not fully clear about how their fundraising dollars are used, so I wanted to use this month’s newsletter to explain our plans in detail.
PBS’s primary goal is the best education for every student. Indeed, my colleagues and I want the school to be the best in all program areas. To do that, we dedicate substantial time and resources driving new programs, initiatives, and improvement opportunities. The six visiting educators who led our recent accreditation observed that PBS is an exceptional and innovative school poised for even more future success. We find further evidence in the sentiments of our students, who consistently report high-quality learning engagement and classroom experience.
We are in this desirable position because PBS families are committed to our growth agenda; your participation and support ensure our success. There are three pillars the school’s approach to philanthropic giving: the Annual Fund, the Spring Benefit, and an upcoming capital campaign. It’s important to my team, our volunteers, and me that you have a strong understanding of these pillars and how we’re putting your donations to work. We also want to clarify how each pillar supports the people and programs that make PBS a special place.
Supporting new, revamped, and amplified program initiatives
The Annual Fund represents roughly 10% of our operating budget each year, and these supplemental funds beyond tuition income make it possible for PBS to innovate in the classroom, pilot exciting ideas, and think big each year about how best to educate each learner on campus. We are proud to have hit 100% parent participation over the last couple of years, and we hope to do the same this year.
- New Math Enrichment Coordinator to support all students in their mathematical journey, meeting them where they are and encouraging them to reach their fullest potential through differentiation and extension
- New departmentalized co-teaching model in 4th and 5th grades to provide greater rigor, challenge, and differentiation and to prepare students for the academic day in middle school
- New Ready? Set...Go! program to set students up for success in middle school with intention
- New Family Connection Program to enhance a peer-to-peer learning environment that honors the uniqueness of each family’s values while ensuring we deliver our mission, model our core values, and provide tools you can use at home
- Amplifying our educational technology program to familiarize students with today’s tools while preparing them to be the creators of tomorrow’s inventions
- Strong measurements of our math curriculum: Internal data summarized in our annual dashboard tool show an above-average bell curve relative to mastery benchmarks in our research-based progress reports. External data in the same dashboard show that greater than 50% of PBS 5th-graders score above average relative to our independent school peers.
- Middle school placement: PBS is committed to offering robust resources for families in the placement process and advocating actively for each 5th-grader. Over the past four years, over 90% of PBS students have been admitted to one or more of their top three middle school choices, even as the admission environment has become exponentially more competitive in that same timeframe. In addition, 84% of last year’s graduates were admitted to their first-choice school.
Putting students and faculty first
The Spring Benefit is an annual event (scheduled for April 27 this year) held in celebration of the PBS community, where we raise funds for two important priorities:
- Each dollar given toward Fund-A-Student or pledged during the evening paddle-raise will help fund next year’s financial aid budget, allowing us to make the full cost of attending PBS affordable for a wide array of families and helping to build the inclusive community we all treasure.
- All other net proceeds from the Benefit go toward next year's faculty salaries, benefits, and professional development, helping PBS to offer competitive compensation packages and to attract, retain, and develop exceptional educators.
- Increased financial aid awards by 108% since 2012, expanding our socioeconomic diversity and creating a school community that is representative of our greater community – a goal aligned with our mission and values
- Increased our professional learning resources to the top decile of peer schools
- Supporting the professional goals of our faculty: Seven faculty promotions from within our Associate Teacher Program and three faculty promotions to the PBS leadership team
- New faculty evaluation tool to improve goal-setting, feedback, and assessment of training needs
Capital Campaign (coming soon!)
Accelerating and sustaining our bold vision for PBS's future
In January, Board Chair Corey Mulloy shared in his letter to the community that the Trustees have voted to set PBS on a path to achieve an ambitious set of priorities over the next several years. We have begun to build a campaign strategy that will rely on the generosity of our entire community to achieve three key objectives:
- Faculty First: Attract, retain, and develop an exceptionally talented faculty
- Curricular Innovation: Design a new Invention Program at PBS
- Campus Development: Build a community center and upgrade our physical plant.
Our Advancement Team is building a strategy for getting every family at PBS involved in this historic undertaking in a way that resonates meaningfully with them. As you can imagine, this kind of personalized approach takes time, so don’t be concerned if we aren’t able to discuss the specifics with your family right away. This campaign will be a multi-year endeavor, above and beyond our budgeted Annual Fund and Spring Benefit efforts, and we want to take our time to get things right.
If you have any questions about philanthropy at PBS, please contact Assistant Head of School for Advancement and Strategy Olana Khan or me. We want you to be well-informed supporters! Two messages in closing:
Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our school.
Thank you for positively impacting our success and driving our excellence through your donations and volunteerism.
Scott Erickson has been Head of School at PBS since 2011. In that time, he has focused on curriculum growth, faculty support and professional development, expanding parent and community relationships, partnering with the board to strengthen the school’s financial position, and developing and implementing the school’s Strategic Action Plan. Scott enjoys reading, public speaking, projects at home, exercise, traveling, and time with family, friends, and pets.