BBA Gala Raises $100,000 for Local Elementary Schools

BBA Gala Raises $100,000 for Local Elementary Schools

BBA Gala Raises $100,000 for Local Elementary Schools

Burr and Burton Academy (BBA) held its eighth annual Parent Association fundraising gala at the Taconic in Manchester on May 25. The annual event raises awareness and funds to support BBA’s mission to create opportunities for all students, and this year focused specifically on the Taconic and Green Regional School District. The event drew a crowd of more than 250 and raised $250,000. The centerpiece of the evening was a call to create a $100,000 Educational Innovation Fund to support local elementary schools so they can build their versions of the Student Success Program; these include Currier Memorial School, Sunderland School, Dorset School, Flood Brook School and Manchester Elementary Middle School. Leaders of each school were in attendance, as well as Jackie Wilson, superintendent of the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union. Of the 1100 students in these schools, roughly 40 percent live in poverty. The fund will build on BBA’s highly successful Student Success Program designed to help students who aspire to be the first in their families to go to college. As BBA headmaster Mark Tashjian explained, “We have already been working with the leaders of these schools, and we will target this money to support innovative programs for students living in poverty. Students in poverty face enormous challenges. They face a health gap, a nutrition gap and a literacy gap. They experience childhood trauma in a way that many of us can barely conceive of. For example, how are you supposed to learn when you are food and shelter insecure? They suffer from what some researchers describe as ‘a poverty mindset.’ These funds will help address the very specific needs of these students.”

“With the $100,000 raised the night of the Gala, added Tashhian, “we can make a real difference. We will work with these school leaders so every dollar goes to early literacy, to purchase books children can take home, to provide professional development to prepare teachers to work with their most challenging students, and to help offer enrichment experiences so that all students can go on this basic thing called field trips. And it is common knowledge (that) the sooner we can support these students, the better their educational success will be in the long run. Beyond fundraising and showcasing student presentations and performances, the annual Gala serves to recognize and celebrate the supporters, volunteers and advocates who make the many program offerings at Burr and Burton Academy possible.”

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