Our Impact

Our Impact

The foundation supports great learning for all students – in every school.

The Bellingham Public Schools Foundation…

– Provides additional resources to every Bellingham public school in support of great teaching and learning.
– Advances science and technology programs so students are prepared for their futures in a dynamic global world.
– Supports vital district wide programming, like music and the arts, so every child may discover and develop a passion.
– Fosters a “One Schoolhouse” approach so every child has access to the same opportunities and services.
– Cultivates wellness programs, including the transition to feeding our children healthy meals made from scratch, so every child leaves our schools able to contribute to their communities and achieve fulfilling, productive lives.

Last year, foundation support meant:

SUPPORT FOR VITAL EARLY LEARNING

BPSF partnered with the district to support Promise K, a high impact learning opportunity for students.  The Promise K program began last year as an innovative way to expand early childhood learning opportunities to children who otherwise do not access structured education experiences before kindergarten.  Investing in the education and healthy development of young children produces proven returns — a skilled workforce, greater physical health, and a more economically vibrant society.  Bellingham teachers find that students who enter kindergarten with some experience in a high-quality early learning setting begin their school year more ready to learn than their peers who lack that experience.  Unfortunately, families who want their children to attend preschool may encounter many barriers — like long waiting lists or stringent requirements for tuition support.  Bellingham Public Schools developed Promise K to make high-quality early learning available to a targeted population of children who would otherwise not benefit from the vital learning and family engagement that occurs with a preschool education experience.

“Research shows that getting our kids in early education programs is instrumental for their development in so many ways. It also supports a healthy community, contributing to a reduction in crime, teenage pregnancy, and welfare dependency,”” said Greg Baker, superintendent of Bellingham Public Schools. Effective social skills developed in childhood — attentiveness, persistence, the ability to work with others — influence success in adulthood.  All families need support nurturing these skills in children.  Early learning opportunities help families build on their children’s strengths.  Not all families have equal access to those supportive early learning opportunities, though.  Promise K is designed to fill a service gap in our community.  Local early learning advocates estimate that 70% of our incoming kindergarteners attend childcare, Head Start, or preschool before entering the K-12 system.  Head Start carries a wait list — a family’s income may be slightly too high to qualify for Head Start, for example, but too low to afford another early learning opportunity.  Promise K offers a preschool experience to families who want to support nurturing strong social and academic skills in their children, but haven’t been able to access structured early learning in another setting.

Our district’s initial Promise K session was overwhelmingly successful.  Children who hadn’t been in a classroom before thrived, learning to hold crayons, use words to negotiate with their peers, and practice their literacy skills.  Thanks to Promise K, kindergarten teachers look forward to gaining a classroom full of children who are truly ready to learn in the fall.

Promise K is the Bellingham Public Schools commitment to our community to ensure that families have equal access to early childhood education, enabling as many students as possible to enter our schools ready to learn and reach their full potential. The Bellingham Public School Foundation invites you to be a part of helping our children grow.

INNOVATIVE IDEAS INTO OUR CLASSROOMS

BPSF support means annual giving to every school to bring innovative ideas new ideas into our classrooms. Some of the programs that gifts to the foundation helped to support include:

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT TO SUPPORT GREAT LEARNING

Some of the resources that gifts to the foundation helped to support include: