BBA Gala raises $100K for T&G fund

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MANCHESTER — The public schools of the new Taconic and Green Regional School District took center stage at Burr and Burton Academy's eighth annual Parent Association fundraising gala, as the evening saw the creation of a $100,000 Educational Innovation Fund to support the district's elementary schools and create opportunities for students.

The gala drew a crowd of more than 250, and raised a total of $250,000 for BBA and the new fund, on Friday, May 25 at the Taconic Hotel in Manchester.

The principals of each school were in attendance: Carolyn Parillo of Currier Memorial School in Danby; Neal McIntyre of Flood Brook School in Londonderry; Manchester Elementary'Middle School's retiring co-principals Irene and Marty Nadler, and incoming co-principals Deb Fishwick and Betsy Memoe; Skyler LaBombard of Sunderland Elementary School; and Rosanna Moran of The Dorset School. Also attending was Jackie Wilson, superintendent of the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union.

The intent of the Education Innovation Fund is to support the local elementary schools so they can build their version of the Student Success program. Of the 1,100 students in the se schools, about 40 percent live in poverty — an estimated 450 students.

This fund will build on Burr and Burton Academy's highly successful Student Success program, whose motto "goals-habits-growth" is designed to help students who aspire to be the first in their families to go to college.

"We have already been working with the leaders of these schools, and we will target this money to support innovative programs for students living in poverty," said BBA headmaster Mark Tashjian. "Students in poverty face enormous challenges. They face a health gap, a nutrition gap, and a literacy gap. They experience childhood trauma in a way that many of us can barely conceive of. For example, how are you supposed to learn when you are food and shelter insecure? They suffer from what some researchers describe as 'a poverty mindset.' These funds will help address the very specific needs of these students."

"With the $100,000 raised the night of the Gala, we can make a real difference," Tashjian continued. "We will work with these school leaders so every dollar goes to early literacy, to purchase books children can take home, to provide professional development to prepare teachers to work with their most challenging students, and to help offer enrichment experiences. ... And it is common knowledge the sooner we can support these students, the better their educational success will be in the long run."


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