Published September 16, 2003
Volume 11, Number 9

PPIE Works to Support Education in Pleasanton

For educational systems to work, both the parents and the community need to get involved. Fortunately, Pleasanton is blessed with a world-class school district as well as exceptional community support. One notable support group working to get businesses involved in promoting education is Pleasanton Partners in Education Foundation (PPIE). In 1985, the Superintendent of the Pleasanton Unified School District presented a partnership program idea to the Corporate Volunteer Council. This led to the formation of the Business/Education subcommittee of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce in 1985, and in 1987, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) was born.

In collaboration with the local business community, PPIE raises funds and gives grants to local educational institutions. “Teachers come up with great ideas but they often need money to make those ideas work,” says Leslie Coonan, executive director for PPIE. “We have mini grants, which are up to $500 and then we have a category called impact grants, and those are up to $5,000.” The money is raised by collecting donations from local business as  well as by fundraising activities that include PPIE’s annual CEO (Creating Educational Opportunities) dinner. This year, PeopleSoft will be a major contributor to the dinner, will be held on September 20, 2003.

The grants are used for a number of projects that the PUSD might not otherwise have been able to afford. For example, in June 2001, a $1,000 grant was given to a teacher at Amador High School to provide funding for soil testing equipment. The high school happens to be right next to a creek in Pleasanton and an Amador class wanted to do a project studying the creek. $1,600 was also given to support and expand the Career Pathways program at Amador, which is a health and bioscience pathway at the high school. $3,500 was given to the school district for a new reading and spelling program. “Our school district doesn’t have money for these important projects,” Coonan says. “We rely on the community to help.”

“What we basically do is to create partnerships between the business community and our school community,” Coonan says. “We get our funds through the business community. It’s a two-fold partnership. We’re asking for financial support but we also give businesses access to our classrooms. We have a career day that we put on at all three of our middle schools where we have anywhere from 30 to 60 volunteers come in and share their careers with the eighth graders.” The idea is to expose and get students interested in different types of careers—a win-win situation for the students and the companies where they eventually may work.

Small businesses and large corporations both can participate in local schools to help students by providing employee volunteers as tutors; by leading two-day seminars for students on decision-making; or by hosting an educator or a student for a day of job-shadowing. Financial contributions are also welcome. Call (925) 846-5620 for more information about PPIE.  


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