Written by Dr. Sandra B. Woitas
Founding Director of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation
What Do You Do With An Idea? is an award winning children’s book written through the eyes of a hopeful child – a boy who has a brilliant idea and brings it into the world. Much like this inspirational story, in 2009 Bev Esslinger who at the time was the Chair of the Edmonton Public Schools Board of Trustees had her own brilliant idea of planting a seed and growing a friendraising and fundraising arm for the Division. Along with her visionary Board members, they established a Foundation focused on broadening support for public education and student success.
You can imagine my surprise and delight when I was asked to be the Director of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation! A Foundation Board was quickly appointed and we started our journey to fund full-day Kindergarten in 15 schools for the little beansprouts who need the extra half day of school to get them ready for learning and Grade 1.
Here we are a decade later! This brilliant idea has blossomed and full-day Kindergarten has already become a reality for six schools that reside in socially vulnerable neighbourhoods – Calder, Beacon Heights, Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh, Princeton and Tipaskan. I’m in awe of what can be accomplished by a community of caring and generous people. And, I am grateful that Edmontonians value the important role that public education plays in the lives of children – today’s learners and tomorrow’s leaders.