Pre-conference Site Visit-Oct. 25, 2017
Annual Meeting Pre-conference Site Visit
October 25, 2017
Attendees began by seeing one of America’s most ambitious K-12 reforms, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). ESA’s allow parents to access per-pupil state funding allotted for their child to pay for the specific educational needs of their child such as private school tuition, tutoring, online learning, and therapy. Unused resources may be saved for college. Last school year in Arizona, over 3,500 students used ESAs to enroll in more than 130 schools where costs averaged $11,000 per student. Arizona’s ESA program is the nation’s first and largest, and has since inspired other states to enact similar programs. Beginning this fall, all students will be eligible to apply, expanding the potential of this bold school choice endeavor.
To show the possibilities of ESAs, donors visited the Foundation for Blind Children private school that’s part of a burgeoning marketplace to serve ESA-wielding families. During the visit, donors toured the distinctive campus to see how educators help blind students and prepare visually impaired people of all ages to obtain life skills and gainful employment. Donors met policy leaders, talk with parents who have utilized ESAs for their children, and examined the program’s potential to scale and meet diverse student needs.
Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways
Local community colleges offer a wide range of post-secondary degrees and certificates that can boost prospects for job seekers, helping them build fulfilling and economically rewarding careers. But college can be a daunting prospect, especially for “non-traditional” students.
The Philanthropy Roundtable explored how Rio Salado's College Bridge Pathways (CBP) provides non-traditional students with a bridge to college level programs. Programming targets those who need services including Adult Basic Education, high school equivalency preparation, English language acquisition, incarcerated re-entry and more. Building on years of experience serving the broader community, the bridges program offer a combination of in-person and online programming to expand its reach to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access higher education due to work schedules, distance from a campus, family commitments and other barriers.
Also on this visit, we toured the adjacent SPOT 127, an innovative collaboration between Rio Salado College, KJZZ 91.5 FM, and Friends of Public Radio Arizona, which empowers high school students to develop skills in digital media, radio, and journalism. The program has its roots in the Teen Radio program which sent skilled journalists into local high schools to work with at-risk students. Today, its educational outreach programs, aimed at low-income and at-risk high school students ages 14-18 in the metro Phoenix area, are designed to foster skill development, job opportunities, internships, and build confidence.
|Wednesday, Oct. 25|
|10:30 a.m.||Departure from Fairmont Scottsdale Princess|
|11:00 a.m.||Arrive at Foundation for Blind Children|
|11:15 a.m.||Tours of Facility|
|12:15 p.m.||Panel Discussion with Q and A|
|2:00 p.m.||Departure from Foundation for Blind Children to Rio Salado College|
|2:30 p.m.||Arrival and Welcome to Rio Salado |
|2:40 p.m.||Remarks by Chris Bustamante |
|3:00 - 4:00 p.m.||Student and Employer Panel |
|4:00 p.m. ||Break |
|4:15 p.m.||Tour of Radio Station|
|5:00 p.m.||Bus Departure to Fairmont Scottsdale Princess|
|5:30 - 5:45 p.m.||Arrival Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for Reception|