Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

Representatives from Heritage Elementary and Tigerville Elementary, along with Superintendent W. Burke Royster, School Board member Joy Grayson, and Cliffs of Glassy residents, gathered atop Glassy Mountain for a Back-to-School picnic to celebrate and recognize the Cliffs’ financial contributions and volunteer involvement in both schools. The Cliffs Resident Outreach (CRO) plans to raise $75,000 to support the schools.

Marietta Castellano, president of the CRO Board of Directors, said the primary goal of their fundraising efforts is to provide resources so that every child will read on grade level by third grade. Through their support, the schools have received hundreds of grade level books as well as iPads and Smart Tables.

“Everything we make in donations is given right back to the students,” said Castellano. “A secondary goal is to help students who cannot afford basic needs such as clothing, shoes, eye glasses, and hearing aids. We all know that if a student does not have the basic necessities, they’re not going to be able to learn in school.”

“The support provided through your contributions, both financial and volunteer time, is making a significant impact on the success of our students. We are greatly appreciative of your personal interest in our students and look forward to a continued partnership,” said Superintendent Royster.

Joy Grayson, who represents Area 17 and is active with Public Education Partners, said the organization is amazed at how fast and how energetically this program has taken off. “From just being an idea to actually making it happen, the development of this program has been one of the most successful that Public Education Partners has ever done. You are now a model for the district and others on how to do it right,” she said.

Diane Jackson, principal of Tigerville Elementary, praised the CRO for providing technology and volunteers in her school. “We are so happy to have volunteers come out four days a week, every week of the school year,” she said. “By putting an iPad with the right apps in students’ laps, they learn and the learning is exciting. We have from three to twenty iPads in each classroom, and our goal is to have one iPad for every student.”

The addition of hundreds of books has made a huge impact at Heritage Elementary. Principal Heather Hester explained, “I have the pleasure of seeing the benefit these dollars have in our school. We have put hundreds of books into the hands of the children. They’re reading rich literature and they’re reading a different book every day. At Heritage we’ve seen an increase in test scores in all academic areas, and we couldn’t have done that without your partnership.”

Hester added, “I know that these students are going to grow up and work in your companies and will be the next leaders in our community, and by your donations, you are touching the future.”

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