Mary Lin is one of six schools in APS that does not receive Title 1 funding (federal funds allocated to districts that qualify as disadvantaged). We are fortunate to be in this position, but we still need to fill the sizeable gap between the resources we need to reach every student and the budget we are allocated by the district. At non-Title 1 schools, such budget deficits must be filled by parents, relatives and/or the local business community. Historically, our peer non-Title 1 schools were more proactive than us in these efforts, but that changed in 2016 when The Mary Lin Education Foundation (MLEF) started the Rocket Fuel Fund, a traditional "check-writing" style annual fundraising campaign. Since the RFF has raised over $250,000, the majority from Mary Lin Parents, to spend on curriculum enrichment, professional developlement, enhanced technology and environmental upgrades not covered by the district budget.
What do the Funds Pay For?
The Rocket Fuel Fund supports excellence in the classroom in a variety of important ways. The funds pay for our teachers to have world class professional development opportunities such as receiving Orton-Gillingham training and attending Doug Lemov's Engaging Academics conference. The money pays for specialized curriculums like Greg Tang Math, Handwriting Without Tears and Saxon Phonics that support differentiation in the classroom and allow our teachers to reach EVERY student regardless of ability. The funds also cover special projects like our awesome new playground and the Outdoor Classroom and Learning Garden. Last but not least, the money raised keeps Mary Lin classrooms up to date by providing the latest teaching technologies like document cameras, iPad Carts and additional laptops. By covering all of the above, a robust foundation allows our administration to spend more on the most important resource - our educators - meaning we have smaller class sizes and and excellent staff across the board.
Is this really the only major ask this school year?
The RFF is the Mary Lin Education Foundation's sole fundraiser and the one big "ask" from parents during the year. Mary Lin’s PTA is a membership organization that occasionally hosts smaller-scale fundraising events that cost between $5 and $25 and center around family involvement, teacher appreciation and school spirit. The PTA does run a School Partner Program that seeks funds from local businesses. If you are a parent who also runs a local business you have the option to give to both. In addition, volunteer "room parents" may ask for an average of about $30 from each parent to cover teacher gifts throughout the year. Of course, all giving is optional and every donor's financial situation is unique, thus we encourage people who can be more generous to give more so that EVERY Rocket and his or her family feel invested in the spirit and success of our community.