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Pittsfield Schools Receive Generous Final Donation from Dissolving Education Foundation
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:41AM / Friday, March 24, 2023
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The school district received a final boost from the Pittsfield Education Foundation before it dissolves — and it was a big one.

On Wednesday, the School Committee accepted a $17,500 donation from the foundation to support a districtwide, four-day professional development institute this summer. Nationally renowned educational leader Douglas Fisher is expected to come and work with faculty members.

This is PEF's remaining balance, as it is discontinuing operations in the spring after the board of directors determined that it was redundant to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Pittsfield Education Enrichment Fund.

The money was accepted with gratitude from the School Committee for the foundation's near decade of support.  In its communication, the PEF said it was with "bittersweet sentiment" to announce it is wrapping up and offering the generous allocation.  

"After I learned that the Pittsfield Education Foundation was in a sense of dissolving itself because of overlap of fundraising with another fundraising group I expressed disappointment, I guess, that a very valuable effort in Pittsfield was no longer going to continue to exist," Chair William Cameron said.

"And I also want to just repeat that and say this is an extremely generous way to say to say goodbye, not that the people are going anywhere but the that this particular organization is making this contribution as its final action. I really think it's it's an outstanding move on their part."

For eight years, PEF has worked to enhance educational opportunities and build broad-based community support for quality public education and create better outcomes for students and teachers in the Pittsfield Public Schools.

The organization has sponsored a variety of events ranging from anti-racist professional development to scholarships for graduating seniors, programs within the schools, and extracurricular team-building activities.

Last year, the PEF partnered with Smokey Diva's for its annual "Food for Thought" fundraiser, offering BBQ boxes with the goal of raising $10,000 for educational opportunities.

Committee member Alison McGee echoed Cameron's sentiments.

"I think this is really a wonderful way to carry through their mission to support education as well as empower teachers," she said.

She asked what the donation will cover and was told that it will pay for Fisher's attendance and that the event will be open to PPS staff if they chose to attend, but is not a paid day.

Fisher is a professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. His work aims to improve students' learning and impact professional learning communities and he has published a number of books on the matter.

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