Petaluma Educational Foundation Board members were delivered to several Petaluma-area schools in style last week aboard a bus provided by the Old Adobe School District.
The board members, like all who attend Petaluma schools, came to learn. Specifically they came to learn how PEF Impact grants benefit Petaluma schools and students. It was the first combined field trip for the PEF board members.
Since 1983, PEF has awarded $3.3 million to Petaluma area schools through its grant program. PEF Impact Grants award up to $15,000 per grant to local schools.
On their tour, board members visited schools in the Old Adobe, Waugh, Wislson, Petaluma City Schools and Petaluma High School districts.
At LaTercera School in the Old Adobe District, the tourists learned how a PEF grant provided “Soaring Through A Series,” creating series book classroom libraries in all grades along with campus book stations.
The board members turned their attention to wildlife and the environment when they visited the Casa Grande United Anglers and learned about how a PEF grant helped provide science equipment, waders, sample collection kits and more for the Petaluma River Watershed Enhancement Program.
Student Shane Cox explained the hatchery program and how students raised young salmon from eggs until they were ready to be released into North Bay streams.
Program director Dan Hubacker told how the program has grown from 28 students a few years ago to 128 this year and a projected 200 next year.
The PEF contingent moved from the outdoors to indoor innovations when it visited the Casa Robotics Program where a grant provided equipment for design and manufacturing robot arms and devices. Instructor Sten Mander had students detail how they created a robotic float for the Butter and Egg Days Parade.
At Meadow School in the Waugh School District, the travelers got a look at what younger students are doing with robotics, coding and engineering with help from a PEF grant.
“We couldn’t be doing the things you are seeing without your support,” Principal Melissa Becker told the PEF board members, pointing out the school’s state-of-the-art computer lab while students demonstrated their Lego robot creations.
At Corona Creek, another Waugh District school, PEF board members learned from Principal Rebecca Rosales how a PEF grant had provided STEAM materials and supplies for creating an innovation lab. They also toured the student garden created with help from a PEF grant from last year.
At McNear School, a Petaluma City School, the wanderers visited with students as they demonstrated how they were having fun learning about engineering, coding and robotics using materials supplied by a PEF grant. Second-graders showed how they were able to make their on pathway for small robots using coded paths.
There was more coding, robotics and engineering to see at Valley Vista School where students enjoyed a chance to create and program their own robots as they rotated through various stations that made use of materials purchased with a PEF grant.
At Wilson School, teacher Aaron Joseph and his fourth-grade students demonstrated how they are using equipment provided by a PEF grant to create a digital media studio.
The consensus at the end of a long day was that it was time well spent and funds were well used in classrooms throughout the community.