Residents, school system establish PCS Foundation

PELHAM – Talk of starting a Pelham City Schools Foundation has been ongoing since the district’s inception in 2014, and in March that idea became a reality.

Foundation president Jim Sumpter said the grassroots effort to start the organization began in October 2017, and in March the foundation was officially established. Sumpter said the purpose of the nonprofit organization is to be a liaison between students, teachers and the community.

“We are not replacing or duplicating anything that’s already in place,” he said. “We want to enhance what everyone can do by providing support. Our intent is to give funds to each of the schools. We’re working for all students and all schools.”

Sumpter said the foundation is also a way for alumni to reconnect with Pelham.

“We want and need alumni to help with fundraising efforts,” he said. “We want them to be proud of Pelham. We’re not doing memberships so we need a lot of volunteers and involvement to make this work. People can volunteer to serve on committees or just to help with certain events.”

The foundation hosted its first event/fundraiser on Oct. 11 during homecoming week. During the first Community Pep Rally, Pelham spirit items were available for purchase. There was also a raffle, food trucks and a DJ. For added entertainment, there was a Faculty Face-off Dance/Lip Sync Battle featuring a group of performers from each school.

Each year the foundation plans to host two fundraisers, one in the fall and another in the spring. The foundation can also serve as a financial conduit for residents looking to donate money to a specific team, department, club or cause within the schools.

The organization’s strategic plan outlines three areas of focus: teacher excellence, student preparedness and community pride.

When it comes to teacher excellence, the goal is to provide teachers the opportunity to further enhance their teaching skills as well as school and classroom enhancements. The foundation hopes to offer funding for teachers who are willing to complete the National Board Certification process, which costs nearly $2,000. Other teacher enhancements include supporting professional development and developing ways of promoting teacher impact on students.

The student preparedness component calls for providing students with additional resources to help them move toward college, career and life readiness. Student incentives include rewards for students who take AP classes, and providing community service opportunities and guest lecturers.

Sumpter said the organization will also develop strategies to work with each school to proactively enhance programs, such as Leader in Me and the Green and Gold program at the high school.

With the final strand, community pride, the foundation will provide citizens and businesses with opportunities to make a difference in local education as well as an outlet to leave a legacy. In addition to volunteering, businesses can sponsor events and provide grants and donations to the foundation.

Sumpter said the organization is working on getting a website set up. In the meantime, residents can contact the group through its Facebook page, Pelham City Schools Foundation.

“I really hope this is embraced by residents and businesses,” he said. “If not, it’s all for naught because we have to have resources.”

Board of Directors:
Jim Sumpter – President
Jeff Adams – Vice President
Steve Flanagan – Vice President
Audra Weber – Treasurer
Dr. Barbara Regan – Secretary
Dr. Scott Coefield – Ex Officio
Sharon Samuel – Ex Officio
Rick Hayes – Ex Officio
Mildred Lanier – Ex Officio
Lara Alvis
Hayley DeShazo
Maddie Gathings
Davy Lott
Bob O’Neil
Adam Power