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Vail Education Foundation

Where community meets education

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Cottonwood Elementary - Ben's Bell Mural

The Ben's Bell organization strives to inspire, educate, and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness. As a proud school in the Vail School District, Cottonwood Elementary added a second Ben's Bell mural to their kind campus! Their objective was to promote a project that would unify their students, staff, and community. The project not only sought to offer a collaborative effort among them but also impact learning as an engaging symbol toward character education taking place at Cottonwood. This is sure to inspire and impact Cottonwood for years to come.

Corona Foothills Middle School - Reading Night

Corona Foothills Middle School has started a student led group that works toward encouraging and supporting independent reading across campus. They started by advertising and distributing three novels that take place during World War II. Students, teachers, and staff read the novels and encouraged others to do the same. To celebrate reading with their community, they planned a reading night event on November 17, 2016. The event had activities for the whole family, including reading inspired games and crafts for kids. There were also food trucks and book vendors. The highlight of the night was a guest speaker qho is a holocaust survivor and shared his experiences.

Activities included:

  • Reading Game: Students had to read to a friend or sibling for 2-3 minutes in order to play the tic-tac-toe game.
  • Jumping castle donated by a parent.
  • Book walk game: Students who won the game chose a free book to take home. Books were donated by the community. They gave away approximately 150 books at the event. Some kids were able to take home two books :)

They also had a book vendor, a VEF table, and a scavenger hunt game in the library.

Guest speaker, Andrew Schot, is a holocaust survivor. He connected his story to WWII novels that the students of CFMS read during the 1st and 2nd quarters.

Community Services

"Thanks to Vail Education Foundation's generosity, 19 Vail children were afforded the opportunity to attend our camps, who otherwise would not have been able to attend due to financial circumstances. I can truly attest that these camps impacted our campers' lives in innumerable ways. The mom of a little girl who attended the theater camp approached one of our instructors at the end of the camp and said, 'I have a new kid, she came in shy and terrified to be on that stage, and left the camp one week later, stronger, braver, and much more comfortable in her own skin.' These are experiences that change lives forever. Thank you for allowing us to provide this opportunity to our community."

--Heather Stough, Vail Unified School District, Community Services Program Coordinator

Acacia Elementary

Acacia Elementary was in need of basketball rims and nets, footballs, flag football belts, soccer nets, kickball bases, and playground balls. The students are excited about the new equipment and activites during recess time. They are more active on the playground because they have more choices and are excited to use the new equipment.

Senita Valley - audiometer

Senita Valley Elementary has shared an audiometer with Rincon Vista Middle School for the past seven years. It has been increasingly difficult to share it, especially at the beginning of the school year when they welcome a new class of Kindergartener's. With the purchase of the audiometer, the health aid can now screen students without delay. The stress level involved with meeting testing deadlines has been greatly reduced.

Cottonwood Elementary Life Skills Classroom

"The goal of the renovation was to provide students, peer mentors, teachers, and paraprofessionals with an enriching environment to explore life skills and to promote self-organization and positive change. The renovation of the Life Skills Classroom has entirely transformed how the room is used and what the students are gaining while in the room. What was once a room for free play is now an interesting and engaging room for structured learning. The room has organized activities that students, peers, and adults can engage in with little to no preparation. For example, the kitchen has a stocked pantry that provides the ingredients needed to make a recipe or two for the week. The sensory cabinet has games and equipment that simply need to be pulled out and used.

It has been exciting for me to observe the Life Skills Classroom being used as an interactive classroom. I have seen the Occupational Therapist use the sensory area and almost every piece of new equipment for therapy. I have escorted two angry children to the room and taught them how to use the crash pad to appropriately release their anger. I have shared a snack with first graders who made their own trail mix and fifth graders who make Ambrosia Salad. I have heard a student comment on how easy it is to do work in her private desk. I have watched a student leave his iPad and read a book in the sensory pea pod. I have even witnessed one of the kindergarten teachers bring in a friend to use the trampoline to get his energy out."

--Sharon Dobbin, Cottonwood Elementary Special Education Teacher

Cienega Key Club - Key Club International Convention

The Cienega Key Club joined the Southwest District tour to Indianapolis for the International Convention and learned quite a bit while they were there about leadership and service opportunities. The convention inspired participants to get involved with several fundraising projects, service opportunities, and engaging in their leadership rolls. This year the Cienega Key Club is looking into some new projects like gathering shoes to send to developing nations, eliminating maternal neonatal tetanus, and putting on a Toys-for-Tots drive in our area.

The purpose of the Key Club is to develop leadership and and service. They do monthly service projects in and out of school.

Corona Foothills Middle Schhol - Flandrau Field Trip

7th grade students at Corona Foothills Middle School visited the Flandrau Science Center at the University of Arizona. The field trip provided the students with a unique hands-on Science lesson. Students visited the Mineral Museum located on the lower level of Flandrau in order to learn more about the geology of the Earth. Students also experienced a planetarium show specifically tailored to the 7th grade Science standards.

Cienega High School - Welcome to Vail Art Display

A student crafted “Welcome to Vail” public art display will define Vail as a distinct community with a 135 year history. At present, the lack of specific downtown center or other normally expected landmarks make it difficult to define what and where Vail is. This art display will be placed along Colossal Cave Road near Acacia Elementary. The experience, lessons, and skills that student artists will learn while working with tradesmen and working artists is at the core of the project. The students’ work will enhance Colossal Cave Road, Vail’s main street, and contribute to the quality of life and build a sense of identity for Vail, demonstrating that youth can make significant contributions to their community. All student workers will be able to proudly put this on their resume as being a contributor to this community landmark.

Thank you letter

Update: 02/11/17

The Advanced Construction Class students are putting the finishing touches on the roadside art for the Colossal Cave Road improvement project. The giant “V” stands over 13’ tall, weighs over 2,300 pounds and is fashioned to look like giant railroad spikes. It will stand on a 4’ high pedestal on the East side of the crosswalk for Acacia Elementary School. Attached to the pedestal will be custom art tile panels made by Vail schools students that depict the history of Vail. Brick pavers with sponsors names will be on the ground around the pedestal. The Vail Education Foundation and the Vail preservation Society provided the funds to buy the materials for this fantastic community project.

Ocotillo Ridge Elementary - Tower Garden Club

Ocotillo Ridge Elementary created a garden club open to grades K-5. It is their goal for students to be exposed to all state standards, including reading, math, science, etc. Students will be given the chance to hypothesize, measure, chart, and learn about PH, nutrition, and photosynthesis just to name a few. This allocation was approved in August 2015, and by December 2015 they had a harvest ready for consumption.

Corona Foothills Middle School - Trebuchet Contest at the University of Arizona

Thank you for providing the grant so we could participate in the trebuchet contest at the University of Arizona. We came in first place for our age division and were the first team in the competition history to hit the target.

7th Grade Physics in Action Team
Corona Foothills Middle School

Corona Foothills Middle School - Ben’s Bells Tile Mural

The Be Kind Club at Corona Middle School constructed a kindness mural to promote a culture of kindness in school and in the community.

Empire High School German Club Trip to Germany

Empire High School students were given the opportunity to explore parts of Germany and Austria and this exposed them to the history, language and culture of these countries.

Pumpkin Toss – Physics in Action

Students at Corona Foothills Middle School participated in the designing, building and testing of a catapult that would toss a pumpkin. This event took place at the University of Arizona.