Placer County has consistently ranked as one of the highest performing counties in California for K-12 public education, contributing to its desirability for families to live in the area. Topping both state and national rankings for student assessment scores and col- lege and career readiness, Placer County has dubbed its institutions with a “gold in education” standard.
“We focus on providing first-class instruction for students in the classroom, accessing meaningful and high-quality professional development for staff, ensuring there are opportunities for interventions for students who may be struggling and promoting a positive school culture so that learning can take place,” says Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, Placer County Office of Education superintendent.
Roger Stock, Rocklin Unified School District’s superintendent, believes the region’s success is partly due to identifying opportunities to secure funding above and beyond what is provided by the state. “We founded the Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation in 2008, which has provided a way to support, enhance and accelerate learning opportunities for all of our students across the district,” he says.
Other Placer Valley cities also have independent school district foundations to raise funds to support educational programs: Lincoln has the Western Placer Education Foundation, founded in 1998, and Roseville has the Roseville City School District Foundation, established in 2005. The Eureka School Foundation, which has been around for more than 20 years, sup- ports students in the Eureka Union School District based in Granite Bay, but three of its seven schools are located in Roseville. Run by volunteers — often educators, parents and other community leaders — these groups operate independently from Parent Teacher Clubs and the schools. The foundations raise money with annual gala events, and they also receive contributions from businesses, families and other community members.
In 2017, REEF provided more than 200 new Chromebooks for students, and in 2019, Ken Broadway, REEF board secretary, says it raised $75,000 for art; wellness; and science, technology, engineering and math programs. Anne Chacon, RCSD Foundation president, says in 2016, the foundation gave $90,000 for supplies to restart the district’s music program and has donated $25,000 to the program each year since.
The foundations’ role is to augment and facilitate the efforts of teachers, parents and the community in promoting student success. “We have incredible teachers who are so passionate about guiding students and giving them the tools they need to succeed — they really make the biggest difference to children, now and into their futures,” says Chacon.