Why Partner With IPEF?
Partnering with IPEF helps all young people in our community have opportunities for success that they otherwise might not have.
Students in IPSD 204 get an excellent education and the numbers prove it. But there are certain elements of that education – important opportunities – that are non-curricular and cannot be financed by tax dollars. These opportunities are where IPEF steps in to help.
In addition, many families in our district are struggling and it’s hard for their children to access opportunities while facing economic hardship or even homelessness. IPSD 204 leaders have developed excellent programs to help these children succeed, but these programs rely on grants and charitable donations through IPEF for funding.
Below are more specific, detailed reasons to partner with IPEF. Click on each, and discover the one that motivates you to partner with us to help our children succeed.
Many organizations have the laudable goal of giving back to their community, often choosing to direct their financial support and volunteer hours toward programs that benefit children. Perhaps yours is such an organization.
IPEF’s programs benefit children from pre-K through high school, enriching their education and their lives. We strive to ensure that we help IPSD 204 meet the needs of students that taxpayer dollars can not cover.
- Our programs are efficient
- They benefit a large, diverse population of children
- They produce measurable, positive results
Teachers are Superheroes. Everyone has had a teacher who made a profound impact on their life. A teacher’s creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication make all the difference between students who are marking time and students who are learning and growing. Investing in great teachers is really an investment in the students they serve.
Great teachers should be encouraged and recognized, and IPEF does both. Our Teacher Innovation Grants fund ideas that teachers develop to make their lessons more hands-on and real for students. Many of these classroom ‘laboratory’ programs go on to become vital components of the curriculum.
School districts facing financial pressures often deemphasize music and arts programs. Others consider them to be ‘extras’ and not essential to education. With so much focus today on test scores, music and arts programs in many districts have suffered.
In IPSD 204, district leaders recognize the vital role the arts play in a well-rounded education, understanding that the arts give students the ‘cognitive toolkit’ to master complex subjects like math and the sciences. They’ve recruited outstanding faculty who have developed an excellent curriculum and provide many opportunities for students to grow through performances and exhibitions.
IPEF funds many of these performance opportunities, including Artists-in-Residence, Holiday Music Concerts, and the annual Fine Arts Festival, now in its 35th year. The Fine Arts Festival is free to the community, and involves every IPSD 204 school with over 80 student musical performances and displaying 12,000 pieces of student art.
Science and Technology change and evolve quickly in education, and our students must keep pace to secure future careers in these fields.
Science and Technology core curricula must emphasize fundamental principles, but exposure to new, advanced concepts is needed too. Recognizing this, IPSD 204 leaders have instituted elective classes and extracurriculars through IPEF initiatives that help students stay up-to-date with technology. Examples include:
- Project Lead The Way (PLTW) – design and engineering classes established in high schools and middle schools
- Competitive Robotics in grades 4 -12 at most district schools
- E-Sports in middle schools and high schools
- STEM family nights, coding clubs, Girls in STEM programs, and more.
IPEF secures nearly all outside funding for these vital curricular and enrichment programs.
The Covid-19 pandemic took a large financial toll on our IPSD 204 families. Many area families have recovered, but not all. Approximately 18% of students in our district are considered ‘low income’ (qualify for free/subsidized lunch), and we average around 140 homeless students at any given time.
When students are under economic stress, it’s hard to focus on academics or be involved in school. IPSD 204 leaders have responded with innovative programs:
- Kid Essentials funds our most vulnerable students, providing essential supports for our low-income and homeless students.
- Back On Track brings licensed counselors into the schools to help struggling students with individualized support.
- Valley Runway makes prom possible for low income students, providing free dresses and tuxedos.
IPEF is the conduit/fundraiser for support of these programs.