Fullerton Education Foundation: How One Family Is Bringing Technology to Schools by Victoria Berkowitzon
Technology has changed the way American companies do business, and if we want the next generation to be competitive then they must learn essential technologies early on. It's with this thought that the Fullerton Education Foundation was created. Since 2006, this foundation has been helping to increase the technological training of instructors and giving access to software, hardware and training to students. Let's take a look at the impact it's had on the community and how it all began.
The History of the Fullerton Education Foundation
It all began in 2006 when Hilda Sugarman realized the need for such a foundation. She got together with her son, Jason Sugarman, CEO of MKA Capital Advisors, and together they came up with $250,000 in start-up funds. The first fundraiser was a $50 a plate dinner, which featured a speech that got everyone in attendance fired up and ready to make change – and that's just what happened.
The Goals of the Foundation
Generally speaking, the foundation exists to bring technology and technology training to the classroom. This often means hardware like iPads, digital microscopes, interactive teaching boards, sound systems and digital cameras. There are two main purposes for this technology. First, it prepares students for the technologies they'll need in college and the workforce, and second it creates an interactive learning environment that helps encourage kids to take a more active roll in their education.
One of the interesting aspects of the goals of this foundation is that it's not just about getting kids up to date on the latest technology – it's also about bridging the gap for teachers and other school staff. After all, the best technological equipment in the world won't do much good in the classroom if the teachers don't know how to best utilize it. That's why the foundation also provides support for schools and teachers who are transitioning into using these technologies as a part of their curriculum.
The Success of the Foundation
It's exciting to see any amount of success in a non-profit organization like this, but it's even more exciting when there's quantifiable proof of success. Consider what's been accomplished in the past and what the foundation is on track to accomplish in the future:
- Since 2009, 100 students in the Fullerton School District have received laptops to promote anytime/anywhere learning initiatives.
- As of 2010, 95 percent of school administrators had access to current technologies which allowed them to extend learning options beyond the typical classroom setting.
- By the end of 2013, 80 percent of Fullerton District students are on course to be trained on internet use and current computer programs, and 80 percent of staff will also have an understanding of updated technologies, including programs, internet and data.
- The foundation is on track to reach their goal of offering more than $1 million in support by 2020.
These goals have been set as a direct result of dialog between the foundation and Fullerton School District teachers and administrators. The goal of the foundation is not just to provide technology tools and training, but to get regular feedback and advice from the very schools that are being served to ensure that they're getting the technology resources they most need.
Of course none of this would have been possible if it weren't for the Sugarman family. They began the foundation because they saw a need, and they continued it because they saw results. Through the impressive support of Jason Sugarman and his family, the foundation has the potential to continue changing lives for many years to come.
Photos: Fullerton Education Foundation
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