By Karen Boyle
For Partners in Education
As students returned to Vashon’s schools this Spring, teachers turned to Vashon Partners in Education (PIE) to help them get their classrooms ready.
First-grade teachers Holly Boyajian and Sri Bookani wanted to create a welcoming, comfortable and safe learning environment for their students. They knew that it would be hard for first graders to sit still in their assigned seats, six feet apart, and wanted to find a way to allow for some movement.
Their innovative solution? “Wobble cushions” that give students wiggle ability even while seated at a desk, and flexible floor chairs and tables that can be moved to different locations for small group instruction or independent reading.
This grant, aptly named “Safe, Fun and Flexible,” was just one of fourteen grants approved by the PIE Board in February and March. Other grants included improvements for the indoor and outdoor facilities of the Chautauqua preschool, sketchbooks for fourth and fifth-grade art students, and new books by authors of color for the Vashon High School library.
PIE’s spring grants totaled $7,350, bringing their total grants for the 2020-21 school year to $50,250.
It was definitely not a “normal” year for our schools, but PIE did not skip a beat — the organization was there to support teachers and students as they have every year for 34 years. PIE is extremely grateful for the many generous donors who make it possible for us to do what we do, year after year.
Another opportunity to support PIE is currently being offered: the organization will receive all the proceeds from its annual PIE Smart Dog Scholarships fundraiser — currently on offer in anticipation of the Vashon Sheepdog Classic, to be held as a handlers-only event in June.
Even though members of the public won’t be able to attend, due to the pandemic, a $100 per dog and handler “scholarship” will offer islanders not only the satisfaction of a partially charitable donation to PIE, but also swag including PIE’s exclusive Sheepdog Classic t-shirt. All donors will also be entered in raffles for a three-night stay at a Whistler condo and pies from Vashon Island Baking Co. Find out more, and donate by May 24, at vashonpie.org/smart-dog-sponsors. More information about the Sheepdog Classic can be found at vashonsheepdogclassic.com.