The Salem Education Foundation began 24 years ago as a Teacher Grant funding organization. The original, sole purpose was to support innovative classroom projects and initiatives that fell outside of the district budget. We continue to have a strong teacher grant program, giving out more that $25,000 annually. We have also given several thousand dollars in the past few years to our Fund-a-Need program.
In 2011, when the district was in danger of losing governing power to the state because of test scores and poor performance, SEF stepped up to help lead the way to a successful school district. We became strong advocates of progressive educational strategies, better practices in the classroom, fighting injustices in the schools, and helping rally the entire Salem community around the importance of education for the viability of our city. Now Salem is on its way towards success! There is always room for progress, but people are paying attention and making good decisions to benefit all of our students. This allows us, SEF, to step back from our advocacy role, returning to our original mission of providing experiences for students that cannot be funded by the district and engaging the community.
We continue to engage the community and celebrate education in creative ways. We’ve expanded our work into community engagement including hosting forums, creating a biannual, bilingual newspaper covering the school district and partners, and sitting on many ed