In a move aimed at boosting support for music and art programs at local schools, the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) has taken over fundraising efforts once spearheaded by the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation (PSEE), which dissolved earlier this month.
The recent transition was partly triggered by "a feeling that PPIE could build on the success of PSEE to date and take it to the next level," PPIE executive director Steve McCoy-Thompson told the Weekly.
"I think they just felt like PPIE has a stronger network and has a stronger presence at school sites," McCoy-Thompson said, adding that "some of the (PSEE) board members had moved on, so the timing was right."
PPIE has assumed responsibility for raising money for elementary school music programs that were once the focus of PSEE, especially those geared towards students in fifth grade.
Fifth grade is a critical time for keeping students interested in playing music, according to former PSEE vice president Mark Aubel, largely because the friendships formed with other bandmates during that year makes them more likely to continue in the next year.
"Fifth grade band and strings really is the cornerstone for our nationally acclaimed music program," Aubel said in a statement. "We are excited to collaborate with PPIE in building this program for years to come."
Entering the PPIE fold with Aubel will be former PSEE board member Viji Manickam, whom McCoy-Thompson said will help make for a seamless changing of the guard. "She's a main figure in one of PSEE's primary fundraising activities, which is the Dandiya Dance in the fall," he said. "It's a big fun affair and so we'll actually have quite a bit of continuity with Viji since she's already on our board."
PPIE is also exploring "the possibility of creating a music endowment to support elementary music" that would help "refresh" and sustain the Denise Watkins Fund, a large donation that was made in 2011 to PSEE and subsequently turned over to Pleasanton Unified School District.
In addition, PPIE is also "going to resurrect a request of fifth-grade parents to make a donation to help cover the cost for the teachers" of those fifth-grade programs currently paid for by the Watkins Fund.
"We will continue to draw down from the Denise Watkins Fund but at a lower level so that we can extend the life of that fund" while also receiving financial support from PUSD, McCoy-Thompson added. The programs will also keep receiving help from other funds and events, like PSEE's annual spring concert, which will continue under the leadership of PPIE.