Principal - Mott Supplement - January/February 2018 - 31

they learn to snowboard or ski-a skill that
may lead to employment opportunities as
they get older.
In some schools, however, families are
asked to pay for lessons and lift tickets, and
those who cannot or choose not to must
go home instead of participating. At SMS,
Raymond states, "parents and educators
feel it is important that every student has
access to this program, and so parents come
together to fully fund the program through
donations and fundraisers." Recently,
a community member whose children
once attended the school single-handedly
funded a season on the slopes for the
school. Nearly 20 parents and community
members also volunteer through the program to chaperone and provide instruction.
Raymond believes this activity "brings the
community together and provides a unique
opportunity for students."

Funding and Sponsor Partnerships:
Investments in Success

Because SMS is small and geographically
isolated, getting access to funding and
sponsors can be a challenge. To overcome
it, Shrewsbury focuses on developing
relationships with small or local
organizations. One essential after-school
and summer partnership is with Four
Winds Nature Institute, a local nonprofit
organization focused on advancing the
understanding and protection of the

environment through community-based
natural science education and research.
Because Four Winds is a small organization,
SMS combined its support with a grant
from a local General Electric plant, an
anonymous donation, and parent support
to build a community garden, an outdoor
classroom, and a series of school-day and
after-school programs that students love.
The outdoor classroom is used continuously
as students study physical and life sciences
and simply engage with nature after school.
Summer program students lovingly tend
the garden with community members and
teachers and, in the fall, share the harvest
with after-school students, using their
products for edible art or taste tests. Galen
Miller, a parent and volunteer, says, "The
next big step is to get a chore board up so
students can take over as much as possible."
Another key sponsor at SMS is the
artist-in-residence program. The PTO
holds annual fundraisers to support these

programs, and each year SMS hosts an artist
for a week of lessons, fun, and creativity.
These activities take place during the school
day and after school. At the conclusion of
the week, the school hosts an exhibition
to show off student work. In a recent
partnership, Circus Smirkus spent a week
with SMS students, and the community was
treated to a student-led circus at the end of
the residency.

Community Partnerships:
Growing the Citizens We Need

Community partnerships provide services
and activities for after-school and summer
students instead of the direct funding
provided by a partnership with a sponsor.
However, like SMS' funding partnerships,
the school focuses on local organizations
that naturally dovetail with the school's
goals and existing programs. The school
has partnered with a local agricultural and
garden foundation called SAGE for the

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