The Westerville Partners for Education aims to cultivate relationships with organizations, businesses and individuals to support academics in the Westerville City School District. WPE links volunteers, organizations and corporations with schools to promote innovative learning experiences, pursue grant and corporate funding on behalf of academic programs, and build networks of support for education across the community.
Back in the spring of 2011, a group of parents and teachers from the magnet schools started meeting, first to talk about saving the magnet schools, and then to talk about what we wanted to see happening in elementary education across the district. We saw a need for programming and advocacy at the elementary school level, leveraging economies of scale to bring programming to multiple schools. We spent that first year and talking to other parents throughout the district, talking to community members and teachers and principals and shaping our goals to put on innovative (free!) programming and to network people together.
In April 2013, we put on Starry Night. This event was originally conceived to combine sciences and the arts, but quickly grew in scope and size. Exhibitors from OSU, Otterbein, Inniswood Metro Garden, Columbus Astronomical Society, and so many more came to give students hands-on educational experiences. We had the SkyDome Theater, Tom Burns presented, students build a giant cardboard “henge,” and the night ended with families dancing at the Constellation Ball. Over 1000 people attended our first year of this free event. We spent a lot of time talking to people and to each other-trying to define what we wanted education to look like and how we could help bring about the vision. Plus, we also discovered that applying for nonprofit status is expensive and time-consuming, but would be necessary to achieve our aims.
In the summer of 2013, we had a breakthrough. We realized that our desire to support education in the district didn’t end at the elementary school level. We wanted education to be stronger at every level. We wanted to do something to help with that. Perhaps even more importantly, we realized that there were already plenty of organizations, businesses and individuals out there with skills, expertise, and desire to help. Rather than building another organization to develop programs, we wanted to reach out and make connections with those experts. If we could act as a conduit, a connection, between those experts and the schools, we could truly enrich the educational experience in our schools.
Westerville Elementary Boosters became Westerville Partners for Education in September 2013.
Westerville Partners for Education is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.