Community News 


Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Recieves AT&T Grants

Students at Baker School, Destin Middle School and the STEMM Academy will benefit from a statewide investment by AT&T this year, once that seeks to increase understanding of how classroom curriculum translates into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.  

To provide a critical link from classroom to careers, AT&T is once again partnering with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in school districts across Florida.   Real-world application of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 47 separate projects to be organized and funded through CFEF member local education foundations, including the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

At Baker School, the AT&T STEM Solutions Grant will fund the purchase of Tetrix Max kits to complement the use of LEGO EV3 Mindstorm robotics programs for middle school and high school students.  Teacher Stacy Burlison has said that the grant will enable her students to “…create and implement more advanced algorithms to solve more complex robotics problems.”

The AT&T STEM Solutions funding at Destin Middle School will support “Engineering the Future”—a program that will help students take STEM education to the next level.  In partnership with the Northwest Florida Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics, Destin Middle School students and engineers from the Okaloosa County community and Eglin Air Force Base will build and launch rockets, analyze the flight of those rockets and determine ways to improve the performance of those rockets.

Teachers at the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical) Academy will be provided with LEGO EV3 robots through the AT&T STEM Solutions grant award.   Staff members will integrate robotics, engineering and programming in a variety of math courses offered to students in grades four through nine.  Students will then participate in real-world applications of engineering and robotics—from surveying the perimeter of a farmer’s field to plotting the path of an extra-planetary rover.

“We know that industries engaged in STEM disciplines will create a majority of high-value, high-wage jobs and within ten years, almost nine out of ten new jobs will require education beyond a high school degree,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President. “We are pleased to make this contribution because Florida’s K-12 education foundations are well positioned to be the link between schools and local businesses for students, enabling them to build connections with potential employers in their communities, get a sense of what careers they offer and the skill sets they require.”

Two additional CFEF contributors have followed AT&T’s lead to provide similar programs with local impact throughout Florida.  The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding 11 larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process.  CenturyLink is funding 25 projects in their “Teachers and Technology Two additional CFEF contributors have followed AT&T’s lead to provide similar programs with local impact throughout Florida.  The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding 11 larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process.  CenturyLink is funding 25 projects in their “Teachers and Technology Grant” initiative providing training and needed equipment to enhance digital learning in the classroom. 

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*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit www.OkaloosaSchools.com/OPSF.

About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF):

The CFEF is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private sector investment and involvement in public education.  The CFEF now has 61 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members.  Collectively, they raise more than $45 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $27 million to local education foundations since 2001 through various private- and public-sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. 

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.  This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.

About Philanthropy at AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2010, more than $148.2 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.

© 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.


Boeing Company Donated Grant to OPSF to Support Robotics Program

The Boeing Company has awarded a grant to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) to support the development of applied robotics programs for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle simulations for high school students as well as incorporating Robotics Teams for middle school students.  The grant funding from Boeing will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, through a matching grant from the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) and a corporate contribution from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide. 

In presenting the check from Boeing, Hank Sanders, director, Special Operations Forces Programs, Aircraft Modernization & Sustainment spoke of the investment Boeing has made to develop the potential of the brightest students who then become a part of the employment pool sought by Boeing.  “Many lives will be impacted by the challenging and innovative programs supported by the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  As a company with nearly 100 years of engineering innovations, Boeing has its eyes on investing in and developing the talent pool that will shape the next 100 years of innovation.”

Program Director for CHOICE/Career and Technical Education Patti Bonezzi echoed that sentiment, stating that Boeing’s investment in the future of Okaloosa students and staff represents the power of community partnerships. Okaloosa County Assistant Superintendent Steve Horton thanked representatives of Boeing and Embry-Riddle for their support, “We are proud to partner with both of these institutions, for they provide our students with un-paralleled opportunities to explore the future and contribute to it.” 

Ron Garriga, Director of Campus Training and Professional Development, US Campuses for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide, who serves as the Director of the Okaloosa Aerospace Academy, affirmed the value of the collaborative efforts represented by the grant funding, “This continues the progressive approach of Okaloosa County in preparing local students for the workforce.”

Boeing supports preparing and inspiring students to be dreamers of the future by gaining fundamental 21stcentury skills through STEM-related, problem-based experiences.   In addition to financial support of OPSF, Boeing employees from Fort Walton Beach volunteer their time, serving as mentors and classroom resources in Okaloosa public schools.

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About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit www.OkaloosaSchools.com/OPSF.


Gulf Power Foundation Awards Grant to OPSF

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) was recently awarded a grant from the Gulf Power Foundation in support of the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program in Okaloosa County.  Funding from the grant will provide support services for Take Stock Scholars in every high school in Okaloosa County.  In accepting the donation, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson expressed her appreciation for the years-long support from the Gulf Power Foundation.  “There truly is power in this partnership.  It represents the investment that our community continues to make in students who have great potential.  I am confident that the return on that investment will be of benefit to all of us for many years to come.”

Pictured above are left to right: Henry Kelley, Executive Director of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation; Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson; and, Bernard Johnson, District General Manager, Gulf Power.

About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit www.OkaloosaSchools.com/OPSF.

About the Gulf Power Foundation

The Gulf Power Foundation is investing in the communities we serve with grants, employee donations, and matching funds to educational foundations and university scholarships, including Northwest Florida organizations as well as colleges and universities across the nation.

To further deserving causes in education, Gulf Power Foundation offers educational grants to Educational Foundations in each county. The grants offer a number of benefits aimed at building knowledge and enhancing the quality of life and the economic well-being of ocal communities. The Foundation also donates scholarships to junior colleges and universities in Gulf Power's service territory. Financial aid officers at the schools select deserving northwest Florida students to receive the scholarships.

In addition to the numerous community activities supported by Gulf Power employees, the Gulf Power Foundation makes financial grants to charitable organizations in the company's service area.

In 2012, the Foundation awarded more than $338,314 to Northwest Florida organizations. Another $4,283 in matching funds went to 20 colleges and universities across the nation, matching contributions made by Gulf Power employees. Since its beginning in 1987, the Foundation has invested over $5.3 million dollars to tax-exempt organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, community services and civic projects.


Wells Fargo Continues Support of Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program

The Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation has received a grant from Wells Fargo.  The grant will provide support services for the 60 Okaloosa County Take Stock Scholars and their mentors.

The check was presented by Cynthia Zubia, District Manager of the Bluewater Districts and Eric W. Billot, Store Manager of the Sandestin Store. 

“Wells Fargo is proud to support the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and Take Stock in Children,” said Zubia. “Investing in education and our schools is an important part of our community commitment. We recognize that such an investment helps promote long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities.” 

In accepting the grant funding on behalf of the Foundation, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson spoke of the students whose hopes and dreams will be supported by Wells Fargo. 

“This grant will assure that our 60 Take Stock in Children Scholars have the guidance and support necessary to attain success, graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education.  It is an investment in the future that will serve our students and our community well.  Wells Fargo is helping us change our future, one child at a time.”

Take Stock is a unique Florida program that provides college scholarships to young people who have good school records but who may not be able to attend college because of their families’ financial situation.   It is administered through the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation. The Wells Fargo grant will provide support services to enhance the academic and advocacy programs for the 60 Okaloosa County Take Stock students as well as support for their community-based mentors.  Each Take Stock Scholar signs a contract, pledging to maintain his or her good school record, stay drug-free and crime-free and meet with a school-based community mentor throughout high school.  Upon graduation, that student is awarded a scholarship to the school of his or her choice.  

About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. 

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets.  Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy.  Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations.  Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.


ABWA Shows Support to Take Stock in Children Program

The Emerald Coast Chapter of the American Business Women's Association (ABWA) recently celebrated their continuing partnership with the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program.  The Emerald Coast Chapter has funded a full college scholarship for Lauren Sinclair who has been mentored by ABWA member Gail Waller.

At the invitation of ABWA President Peggy Brockman, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson and Foundation Executive Director Henry Kelley attended the June meeting to express their appreciation for the Chapter’s support and provide an update on the Take Stock Scholarship Program.  Superintendent Jackson spoke of her appreciation for community partnerships: “It is an honor to serve as Okaloosa County Superintendent where partnerships like this one reflect the dedication of our community to students and their families.”  She thanked President Brockman and Chapter members for their support – past, present and future.

Kelley provided an update on the Take Stock Scholarship Program, reminding ABWA members that 95% of those students who are Take Stock Scholars successfully complete their post-secondary education.  He spoke of the importance of mentoring which is an essential component of Take Stock and contributes to the success of the student scholars.

ABWA provides business training and networking opportunities for women of diverse occupations and backgrounds.  The organization supports personal and professional growth through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.

Pictured above, left to right: Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Henry Kelley; ABWA President Peggy Brockman; Okaloosa County Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson; and, ABWA Take Stock Mentor Gail Waller.


 

Panhandle Job Fair Foundation Supports Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program

Prior to opening one of the largest job fairs in the Florida Panhandle, the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation presented to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation a check in the amount of $8,500.  The contribution is dedicated to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program and will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.  The presentation was made on behalf of the employers who participate in the Panhandle Job Fair and is the eighth scholarship funded by the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation since 2003.  In addition to funding scholarships, many of the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation members and participating employers serve as school-based mentors for Take Stock in Children Scholars.

In accepting the donation on behalf of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and Take Stock, Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson paid tribute to the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation and the participating businesses and organizations.  “On behalf of the students and families that are touched by the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, thank you for your generosity and your vision for the future of our community.  Young people from Laurel Hill and Baker to Niceville and Fort Walton Beach will achieve their dreams of attending college through this program that provides scholarships, mentors and hope—enabling them to attend the post-secondary institutions of their choice.”

The Panhandle Job Fair began in the Spring of 1993 primarily to assist military service members seeking employment opportunities after completing their military careers.  It was later expanded to include military spouses and the general public.  The Panhandle Job Fair attracts companies nationwide who are seeking well-qualified, educated and experienced individuals for employment opportunities worldwide.  The Job Fair attracts over 100 companies and averages 1,000 jobseekers at each fair.

Pictured above from left to right: Panhandle Job Fair Foundation President Micelle Crocker, Micro Systems; Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson; Panhandle Job Fair Foundation Education Chair Michele Burns, Kelly Services; Take Stock Scholar Kierra Moore; Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President David Braithwaite, Charlton House Capital; Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Board Member Linda Sumblin, Executive Director, CareerSource of Okaloosa and Walton Counties; Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Henry Kelley.

About the Take Stock in Children Program

One of the primary focuses of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation is the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program. Take Stock is a unique and innovative program that provides four-year scholarships to deserving low-income youth who may not go on to college because of their families' financial situation. Eighth grade students with good grades, good attendance, and good discipline records who meet the income eligibility requirement are invited to apply for these scholarships. Each student who is selected signs a contract, along with his or her parent, promising to maintain a good school record, to remain drug and crime free and to meet weekly with a mentor.  Students who maintain the terms of their contracts are awarded tuition scholarships to the post-secondary institutions of their choice.

For more information on the Take Stock in Children Progam, click here.

PHOTOS

Pictured from left to right: David Braithwaite, President of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation; Kierra Moore, Take Stock in Children Scholar from Choctaw; Cindy Frazier, Program Coordinator for Take Stock in Children/Okaloosa County; Henry Kelley, Executive Director of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.


CenturyLink Announces Grant Winners

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation is pleased to announce that CenturyLink, Inc. has announced the local winners of the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grant program. The program, which has been offered since 2008, awards grants to schools in CenturyLink’s local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to innovatively implement technology in their classrooms.

Congratulations to our winners:

  • Choctawhatchee High School was awarded $2,033.51 for Instant Outcomes: Efficient Formative Assessment through Technology, submitted by teacher David Dodson. 
  • Davidson Middle School was awarded $5,000 for Data Driven Science, submitted by Kathy Morris, to purchase ResponseCard NX devices.
  • Elliott Point Elementary School was awarded $4,969.26 for the Digital Current Events project submitted by teacher Denise Richardson.
  • Okaloosa STEMM Academy was awarded $4,990 for the project STEM: 3D Printing and Engineering Design, submitted by teacher Sarah Wilson. 
  • Wright Elementary School was awarded $5,000 for Technology Implementation in the Primary Classrooms, submitted by teacher Shannon DeBerry

To read the complete article, please click here.


Kids Tag Art Program Receives Donation

Matt Thomas, Gulf Coast Office Products, recently donated $500.00 to the Okaloosa Public School Foundation (OPSF) in support of the Kid Tag Art Program that is conducted in partnership with the Okaloosa Tax Collector’s Office.

Pictured above are (left to right): Melissa O’Malley, OPSF Accountant;  Henry Kelley, OPSF Executive Director;   Matt Thomas, Gulf Coast Office Products; and Ben Anderson, Okaloosa Tax Collector.

“You will be hearing a lot more in the future about this innovate program to promote arts in our schools,” said Kelley.


anhandle Job Fair Foundation Supports TSIC Scholarships

The Panhandle Job Fair Foundation presented a check to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation on September 18, 2014 to fund college scholarships for the Take Stock in Children program.  The presentation continues a 10-year tradition of support for Take Stock in Okaloosa County.  The commitment is an enduring one.  Members of the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation and the local employers who participate in the annual Job Fair provide not only financial support but also have served as mentors in the program and have provided work-based experiences for Take Stock Scholars.

Assistant Superintendent Marcus Chambers accepted the check on behalf of Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson.  “We thank the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation and all of the employers who are participating in the Job Fair today for their support.  Your donation to Take Stock in Children will change the lives of two young people in the Okaloosa County School District.  Without you, they would not be able to attain their dreams of attending college.  You are truly making a difference for our students and our community.”

Pictured from left to right: Debbie Buchanan, President of Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation; Michelle Crocker, President of the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation; Marcus Chambers, Assistant Superintendent of Okaloosa County School District.


Mid-Bay Rotary Club Supports Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program

The Mid-Bay Rotary Club recently made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  Over the past several years, Mid-Bay Rotary has funded seven college scholarships for Take Stock Scholars in Okaloosa County.  In addition to their financial contributions, club members have served as mentors to Take Stock Scholars, providing caring guidance to students in the program.

Pictured above, left to right: Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson; Mid-Bay Rotary Club President Jeffrey Rink; and, Take Stock in Children Program Coordinator Cindy Frazier.


Gulf Power Foundation Donates to Take Stock in Children Program

The Gulf Power Foundation recently awarded a grant to support the Take Stock in Children Scholarship program.  On behalf of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson and Foundation President Debbie Buchanan accepted the award from Bernard Johnson, District Marketing Supervisor for Gulf Power.


Twin Cities Woman’s Club Supports TSIC

The Twin Cities Woman’s Club (TCWC) is in its tenth year of supporting the Take Stock in Children program through contributions to scholarships, program support, and mentoring.  Two of the student scholars for whom the group provided financial support and mentoring are now college graduates. 

Recently representatives from TCWC and its Childhood Concerns Committee visited with Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson and Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President Debbie Buchanan to present a generous donation to the Take Stock program and to express their continued commitment to the program. 

Pictured, left to right: Pictured, left to right:  Jo Ann Dunnam, TCWC, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson, Brenda Brown, TCWC, Cindy Frazier, TSIC, and Lillian Lewis, TCWC.


Okaloosa County School District Wins Grant from CenturyLink Foundation for Innovative Technology Projects

CenturyLink, Inc., the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF), and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) recently announced the Okaloosa County winners of the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grant program – Amy Koch, Lewis School and Cathy McIntyre, Instructional Technology Department.  The program, conducted in partnership with the CFEF, launched in Florida last year and awards grants to schools in CenturyLink’s local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to innovatively implement technology in their classroom.

“We are very pleased to be a part of providing innovative technology in the classroom that enhances the learning experience for students in these schools,” said Randy Wood, CenturyLink vice president and general manager for Alabama and North Florida.  “It is exciting to see educators implement creative teaching techniques that assist students in hands-on learning.”

Winners were selected by a review committee comprised of community members and a CenturyLink representative.  The winning teachers’ each received a CenturyLink grant through the CFEF to be used to purchase technology to benefit students in the classroom.

  • Instructional Technology Department in Okaloosa County was awarded approximately $4,800 to purchase iPads to help prepare teachers to effectively integrate iPad technology in their classrooms. Teacher Cathy McIntyre submitted the project.
  • Lewis School in Okaloosa County was awarded nearly $5,000 to encourage research and creative story-telling using iPad technology. Teacher Amy Koch submitted the project.

Pictured in large photo above are Superintendent of Schools, Mary Beth Jackson; Eddy Stone, Gulf Coast Operations Manager, CenturyLink, Inc.; and Debbie Buchanan, OPSF President.

About the CenturyLink Foundation

CenturyLink’s vision is to improve lives, strengthen businesses and connect communities by delivering advanced technologies and solutions with honest and personal service. CenturyLink extends this vision through the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to contributing to endeavors that improve the well-being and overall quality of life for people throughout CenturyLink’s communities. Named after CenturyLink’s founder Clarke M. Williams, the Foundation is endowed by CenturyLink to support community initiatives that encourage our employees to use their time, talents and resources to strengthen the communities in which they live and work.

About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards.

About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF)

The CFEF is the membership organization for Florida’s local education foundations aligned with the state’s 67 county-wide school districts.  Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private-sector investment and involvement in public education.  The CFEF now has 59 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members.  Collectively, they raise nearly $60 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $25 million to local education foundations since 2002 through various private and public sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.

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Mid Bay Rotary Club Makes Generous Donation to Take Stock in Children

Recently the Mid-Bay Rotary Club, in partnership with Wells Fargo, made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  The donation continues their long-time commitment to Take Stock.  Since 2004, the club has funded four-year college scholarships for 6 students with donations totaling more than $33,000 and has provided mentors for their Mid-Bay Rotary Take Stock Scholars

Pictured above: Shannon Whittaker, Wells Fargo; Katie Anderson, Wells Fargo; Mid-Bay Rotary President Harry Snider; Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson; Jim Dixon, Mid-Bay Rotary Club Service Director; and Cindy Frazier, Take Stock Program Coordinator.

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Kit Edwards Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund Supports Take Stock In Children

The Kit Edwards Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund recently presented a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  David Wolf presented the check to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation for the purchase of a Take Stock in Children college tuition scholarship.  This donation represents the fifth scholarship funded by the group in memory of Kit Edwards and his work with students.

The Kit Edwards Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund was created in memory of Mr. Kit Edwards by a group of his friends and family.  Edwards was an Okaloosa County educator who taught at Choctawhatchee High School from 1973 – 1984.  After his retirement, he continued as a substitute teacher for several years.  He was remembered by (then) principal, Richard Bounds as “a very positive person and teacher; he was an excellent influence on young people.”  The scholarship fund was established to support the legacy of Mr. Edwards’ positive impact on students’ lives by provide college scholarships to Okaloosa County students.

Pictured, left to right, are Mary Beth Jackson, Superintendent of Schools; David Wolf, Kit Edwards Golf Committee; and Debbie Buchanan, President, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

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Boeing Grant Awarded to Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation For STEMM

The Boeing Company has awarded a grant to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) to support the continuing development of curricula and activities in the STEMM initiatives.  Grant funding will provide professional development for teachers across the Okaloosa County School District. Projects will include curriculum alignment and incorporate Robotics Teams for middle school and high school students.  Deputy Superintendent Kaye McKinley, Executive Director of the Okaloosa Public Schools, expressed her appreciation for the continuing support from Boeing: “Their generosity gives our students resources to stretch their creativity and inquisitive minds.”  Program Director for CHOICE/Career and Technical Education Patti Bonezzi echoed that sentiment, stating that Boeing’s investment in the future of Okaloosa students and staff represents the power of community partnerships.

Through their corporate grant-making, Boeing supports the development of ingenuity and innovation—hallmarks of the Boeing vision—and the advancement of students’ education, especially in the  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives.  In addition to financial support, Boeing employees from Fort Walton Beach volunteer their time, serving as mentors and classroom resources.

Boeing joins other individuals, corporations and organizations in providing resources that extend and enhance programs and projects throughout the district.  As a member of the Florida Consortium of Education Foundations (CFEF), the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation has received a CFEF Matching Grant for the 2013-2014 school year which will match—dollar-for-dollar—the Boeing contribution.

Pictured, left to right: Debbie Buchanan, President, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation;  Angelika Guenther, Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC) Ft. Walton Beach Site Focal; Henry P. (Hank) Sanders Director, Boeing Special Operations Forces Programs Aircraft Modernization & Sustainment; Patti Bonezzi, CHOICE/CTE Director, Okaloosa County School District; Kaye McKinley, Executive Director, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

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Twin Cities Woman’s Club (TCWC) Supports Take Stock in Children

The Twin Cities Woman’s Club (TCWC) recently presented a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  Through the efforts of members of the Childhood Concerns Committee, chaired by Jo Ann Dunnam, this funding will provide student support services for Take Stock Scholars throughout Okaloosa County.

TCWC is celebrating its 30th anniversary of charitable work in the community.  Since 2004, it has supported Take Stock through scholarship and program support donations and through mentoring.  Club members Susie Hagwood and Gloria Hovorka mentored two TSIC scholars who have graduated from college and remain in contact.  In presenting the contribution, President Lillian Lewis stated that “…club members are committed to women and children causes and especially education programs.   Scholarship programs like Take Stock in Children are a perfect fit for the Twin Cities Woman’s Club, and we look forward to another year of giving.”

Pictured, left to right, Cindy Frazier, Take Stock Program Coordinator; Lillian Lewis, President, Twin Cities Woman’s Club; and Debbie Buchanan, President, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

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Emerald Coast Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Supports Take Stock in Children Program

The Emerald Coast Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) awarded scholarships to two graduating Take Stock in Children Scholars at their meeting on May 15, 2013.  Savannah Birkestrand, Choctawhatchee High School, and Adam Crowson, Baker School, were selected to receive the $500 awards which will support their studies at the University of Florida.  This year marks the fifth year that SHRM has funded scholarships for Take Stock students in Okaloosa County.  In presenting the scholarships, Chapter President Robin Grobsmith, Human Resources Manager for Jacobs Technology, remarked that SHRM Emerald Coast Chapter “…appreciates the opportunity to support Savannah and Adam as they pursue their dreams.”

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Emerald Coast Chapter is an organization comprised of human resource professionals in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

Recognized as a Superior Merit or Merit Chapter every year since its inception, the Emerald Coast Chapter is a top-notch organization with an abundance of benefits to offer its members.  SHRM provides an opportunity to grow professionally, network with others, share best practices, and attend conferences and seminars related to the Human Resources field.  The members also participate in the exchange of current job postings and resumes saving recruiting time and money.

Pictured above, left to right: Adam Crowson; Cindy Frazier, TSIC Program Coordinator; Savannah Birkestrand; Robin Grobsmith, SHRM President

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Gulf Power Foundation Supports Take Stock in Children Program

The Gulf Power Foundation recently awarded a grant to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of Okaloosa County.  Administered through the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Take Stock provides scholarships, mentors and hope to deserving students in every high school in the county.  For the 2012-2013 school year, there are 100 Take Stock Scholars, each of whom is matched with a community-based mentor.

To further deserving causes in education, the Gulf Power Foundation awards grants aimed at building knowledge and enhancing the quality of life and the economic well-being of communities in the company’s service area. Since its beginning in 1987, the Gulf Power Foundation has invested over $4 million dollars to tax-exempt organizations not only in education but also in the areas of health and human services, the arts, community services and civic projects.

On behalf of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson accepted the grant award from Bernard Johnson, District Marketing Supervisor for Gulf Power.

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Twin Cities Woman's Club Supports Take Stock in Children Program

Twin Cities Woman’s Club (TCWC), is a long-time supporter of the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation. Former TSIC Mentor Susie Hagwood invited Niceville High School TSIC Scholar Destiny Rutland, her mentor and TSIC staff to present an informative program at their monthly meeting in April.

Pictured, left to right:

Lillian Lewis, President, TCWC;  Cindy Frazier, Program Coordinator, TSIC; Pam Walters, Coordinator – NWFSC Career and Women’s Resource Center, TSIC Mentor; Destiny Rutland, TCWC Take Stock in Children Scholar; JoAnn Dunnam, TCWC Chairman of Childhood Concerns Committee; Dort Baltes, Special Projects Coordinator, TSIC

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 American Business Women's Association Emerald Coast Chapter Funds TSIC Scholarship

The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) Emerald Coast Chapter recently announced that they will be funding a Take Stock in Children Scholarship through the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  The scholarship recipient will be announced in the Spring of 2013 and will be matched with a mentor from ABWA.

The scholarship donation was presented at the January meeting of the Emerald Coast Chapter.  Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson expressed her appreciation for the dedication of ABWA members to provide a young woman in Okaloosa County with the opportunity of achieving her dream of attaining a college degree. 

“This scholarship represents a community-based partnership that supports our belief in our students and the future," said Jackson.  "We value both your financial commitment and your commitment to provide a mentor for the ABWA Take Stock Scholar.”

ABWA provides business training and networking opportunities for women of diverse occupations and backgrounds.  The organization supports personal and professional growth through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.

Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson and Foundation President Bernard Johnson of Gulf Power accepted the scholarship donation from ABWA President Amy McBride.  The donation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

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STD Supports Take Stock in Children

The Emerald Coast Chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recently made a generous contribution to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  The contribution from ASTD will fund services to the 100 Take Stock Scholars and Mentors in Okaloosa County and will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

The members of ASTD are long-time supporters of Take Stock, providing financial support as well as mentors for the program. 

ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to learning and performance that provides research tools and information to assist professionals in meeting their career goals.

Accepting the check from ASTD President Tracey Tapp of Human Resource Solutions, Inc. is Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President Bernard Johnson of Gulf Power.

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Wells Fargo Makes Generous Donation to Take Stock in Children

Wells Fargo has awarded the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation a grant to support the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program.  The grant will provide support services for the 100 Okaloosa County Take Stock Scholars and their mentors. 

The check was presented by Kimberly Ellis, Senior Relationship Manager with Wells Fargo.  “Wells Fargo is proud to support the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and Take Stock in Children,” said Ellis. “Investing in education and our schools is an important part of our community commitment. We recognize that such an investment helps promote long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities.” 

In accepting the grant funding of $3,900 on behalf of the Foundation, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson spoke of the students whose hopes and dreams will be supported by Wells Fargo.  “This grant will assure that our 100 Take Stock in Children Scholars have the guidance and support necessary to attain success, graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education.  It is an investment in the future that will serve our students and our community well.”

Take Stock is a unique Florida program that provides college scholarships to young people who have good school records but who may not be able to attend college because of their families’ financial situation.   It is administered through the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation. The Wells Fargo grant will provide support services to enhance the academic and advocacy programs for the 100 Okaloosa County Take Stock students as well as support for their community-based mentors.  Each Take Stock Scholar signs a contract, pledging to maintain his or her good school record, stay drug-free and crime-free and meet with a school-based community mentor throughout high school.  Upon graduation, that student is awarded a scholarship to the school of his or her choice.  For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit Support Our Schools.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.  Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2012 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.  

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Cox Communication Makes Generous Donation to Take Stock in Children

  

Cox Communication recently made a generous donation to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation to fund a Take Stock in Children Scholarship.  The Take Stock Scholarship contribution is a continuation of the long-standing partnership between Cox and the Okaloosa County School District.  In accepting the check from Kristin Taylor, Public Affairs Specialist for Cox Communications, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson spoke about the multi-faceted relationship between the District and Cox.  “From the Cox sponsorship of the Inspirational Student Hero Awards to the broadcasting of the Okaloosa County School Board meetings, Cox Communications demonstrates a real commitment to giving back to our community.  We appreciate their support for our students—especially this contribution which guarantees that a deserving Okaloosa County student will earn the opportunity to go on to college.”  Ms. Taylor echoed Superintendent Jackson’s appreciation for the relationship between Cox and the School District, emphasizing the benefit to students, parents and district staff as well as to the community-at-large.  “We are pleased to provide this Take Stock in Children Scholarship as a demonstration of our support for the academic excellence promoted by the Okaloosa County Schools.  It is an investment in the future—and in the hopes and dreams of a young person.”

Pictured, left to right, Kristin Taylor, Public Affairs Specialist for Cox Communications, Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson and Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President Bernard Johnson of Gulf Power.

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Boeing Makes Generous Donation to Okaloosa County School District

 

Boeing recently made a generous donation of $35,000 to the Okaloosa County School District to support several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiatives throughout the county. Superintendent Dr. Alexis Tibbetts accepted the check from Boeing representatives, Paul Jernigan and Susan Ault-Davis. The Boeing donation will promote hands-on/inquiry-based professional development and activities that will help strengthen the STEM skills of Okaloosa’s students as a way to address the increasing demand for jobs requiring strong foundations in these areas.

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Bank of America Makes Donation to Take Stock In Children

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded a grant to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation in support of the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, continuing a long-standing partnership between the Foundation and Bank of America.  Take Stock currently serves 100 high school students from across Okaloosa County.  Those students and their mentors will benefit from the activities and support services funded through the grant.  The check was presented by Sean Phillips, Director of the Merrill Lynch Emerald Coast Complex. 

Pictured, left to right: Bernard Johnson of Gulf Power, President of Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation; Sean Phillips, Director of the Merrill Lynch Emerald Coast Complex; Okaloosa County Deputy Superintendent Kaye McKinley, Executive Director of Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.

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 All Sports Association Makes Donation to Take Stock in Children

The All Sports Association recently made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  Their contribution will provide support for Take Stock scholar-athletes who have made a pledge to sustain good school records and stay drug-free and crime-free throughout their high school careers.  The All Sports contribution will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a grant from the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

Pictured, left to right: Bernard Johnson, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President; Chad Hamilton, All Sports Association President; Okaloosa Schools Superintendent Dr. Alexis Tibbetts; Choctaw Take Stock Scholar-Athlete Caneisaya Matthews; Coach Don Brown; Choctaw Principal Cindy Gates.

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Okaloosa County Sherriff's Office Supports Take Stock in Children with Donation

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office recently made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship program to support the mentoring program of Take Stock.  Superintendent Dr. Alexis Tibbetts accepted the check from Sheriff Larry Ashley on behalf of the Foundation.  The OCSO donation will promote mentoring services and activities that assist Take Stock Scholars in maintaining their pledge to sustain good school records and stay drug-free and crime-free throughout their high school careers.

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Mid Bay Rotary Club Makes Generous Donation to Take Stock in Children

Recently the Mid-Bay Rotary Club made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation.  The donation continues their long-time commitment to Take Stock.  Since 2004, the club has funded four-year college scholarships for 6 students with donations totaling more than $32,000 and has provided mentors for their Mid-Bay Rotary Take Stock Scholars.  President Dave Underwood was joined by club member Frank McCarty in presenting a check for $3,250 to Superintendent Alexis Tibbetts and Foundation President Bernard Johnson.  The donation represents one half of a Take Stock Scholarship and will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Pictured from left to right: Dort Baltes, Take Stock Special Projects Coordinator; Mid-Bay Rotary President Dave Underwood; Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alexis Tibbetts; Frank McCarty, Mid-Bay Rotary Club; Cindy Frazier, Take Stock Program Coordinator; Bernard Johnson, Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President.

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Twin Cities Woman's Club Makes Donation to Take Stock in Children

The Twin Cities Woman's Club recently made a generous donation to the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program. Take Stock is administered by the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and provides college scholarships to deserving young people who need financial assistance to attend college. Pictured, left to right: Jo Ann Dunnam, Take Stock Program Coordinator Cindy Frazier and Susie Hagwood.

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Gulf Power Foundation Awards Grant In Support of Take Stock in Children

The Gulf Power Foundation has awarded a grant in support of the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program of Okaloosa County. Take Stock is administered by the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and provides college scholarships to deserving young people who need financial assistance to attend college. Pictured, left to right: Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Treasurer Bob Bennett, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alexis Tibbetts and Bernard Johnson, Gulf Power District Marketing Supervisor.

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Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Emerald Coast Chapter Awards Scholarships

Take Stock in Children Scholar Jessica Porter was awarded a $500 college scholarship by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Emerald Coast Chapter.  Jessica is a graduate of Choctaw High School and will attend the University of West Florida.  Pictured, left to right, SHRM President Tami Manard, SHRM Member Larry Tipton and Jessica Porter.

Take Stock in Children Scholar Thuyvi Luong is the recipient of a $500 college scholarship from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Emerald Coast Chapter.  Thuyvi is a graduate of Niceville High School and will attend the University of Florida.  Pictured, left to right, SHRM President Tami Manard, SHRM Member Larry Tipton and Thuyvi Luong.

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Take Stock in Children Scholarship Donated by Panhandle Job Fair Foundation

The Panhandle Job Fair Foundation donated $7,500 for a four-year college scholarship to the Take Stock in Children Program of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation. Click here to read complete story.

Pictured above (left to right): Bernard Johnson, Gulf Power/Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation President; Marcy Silva, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Eglin AFB/PJFF Scholarship & Volunteer Chair; Lenore Wilton, Kelly Services/PJFF Treasurer; Ester Molder, University of West Florida/PJFF President; Cindy Frazier, Take Stock in Children Program Coordinator; Andrea Rymer, University of West Florida/PJFF Secretary; Dawn Lowe, Northwest Florida Daily News/PJFF Technology Chair.

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L-3 Communications Proud Sponsor of the Teacher of the Year Banquet

L-3 Communications recently presented Dr. Alexis Tibbetts, Superintendent of Schools, with a check for $6,000 as the proud sponsor of the Okaloosa County School District’s Teacher of the Year Banquet.

Pictured with Superintendent Tibbetts are Lee Wetzell, L-3 Program Manager, OCSD Seat Management Program; Dave Ramirez, L-3 Senior VP & General Manager Civil Government Solutions Business Unit; and Charles Jarrow, L-3 VP State and Local Government Solutions.

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Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Awarded Matching Grant from Consortium of Florida Education Foundations

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF), in conjunction with the State of Florida Department of Education recently awarded the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation more than $19,000 in matching funds through the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.

To read complete story, click here.

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Wells Fargo Supports District's Homeless Student Initiative

Wells Fargo donated $3,100 to the Okaloosa County School District in October 2011 in support of the Homeless Student Initiative. Wells Fargo’s mission is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference.