Principal Cheryl Moran of Franklin Community Schools in Indiana organized student correspondence with the district school behavior interventionist who was deployed to Kuwait with the U.S. Air Force Reserve. At Moran’s behest, Webb Elementary students regularly sent letters, videos and packages to Spencer Hessman. In exchange, he sent videos and images to the students, detailing how he spent his personal time during deployment, including riding a camel. After five years at Webb Elementary, Moran now leads Custer Baker Intermediate School.
Superintendent Rico Munn of Aurora Public Schools in Colorado forged a partnership with Colorado State University in which building space has been swapped for scholarships. The district spent about $8 million to construct a new building to house CSU’s Global Campus, an online degree program, and in exchange, Aurora graduates have received scholarships and discounted tuition, and district staff members have received professional development. Munn has also improved the district’s state ratings based on student achievement, resulting in its removal from a state watchlist.
After a cut in state funds, Superintendent David Cittadino of Old Bridge Township Public Schools in New Jersey decided not to take his contractual salary increase of more than $4,000 for this academic year. The district has already been forced to close an elementary school and reduce staff by 85 positions, and based on the state funding formula, it will be receiving $12 million less in state aid over the next seven years. Cittadino’s donation will be applied toward social-emotional learning programs in addition to initiatives supporting mental health issues, addiction recovery and the LGBTQ community.