Dreaming Big

                                BY: Alissa Padgett, VHCSF Board Member and Carla Johnson, VHEW

My family and I are so happy to have made Vestavia Hills our home. When deciding where to raise our children, we wanted a community where we could grow roots and a place our children would benefit from an exceptional school system. As an active community volunteer, I decided I wanted to get involved in the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation (VHCSF).

 As a VHCSF board member, I am often ask "What would a fully funded Education Endowment do for the schools?"  I decided to talk with Carla Johnson, VHEW Librarian. Carla works with children everyday and sees the impact the grants from the VHCSF have in the classroom and the media center.

 Carla who has always had a passion for reading and books has been teaching for 13 years. A previous principal encouraged her to pursue her passion for reading and books, and get a degree in Library Media. “ I am so thankful to Kim Hauser, VHEW Principal for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my passion each and every day in the VHEW Media Center.”

 TheVHCSF funds allow teachers the opportunity to support students learning in various ways. . It is so refreshing to know that we are supported, encouraged to think beyond the normal and to be in a school system that values pursuing excellence. Having a Foundationgives me the confidence to teach without limits. I encouragestudents to dig deeper and provide students with opportunities to move beyond normal classroom lessons into student driven opportunities.  If the VHCSF was fully funded, there would be more opportunities for every student and teacher in the system.

 "I think VHCSF is smart to have as one of their grant criteria that the funds must impact as many students as possible. I love that the VHCSF doesn’t limit the dollar amount a teacher can ask for in the grant process.  The last school system I worked for limited their Foundation grant asks to $1,000. Last year the VHCSF was able to grant $61,000 to the eight Vestavia Hills schools and the Board of Education.  With a fully funded endowment, that number could be greatly increased. All the grant seekers could receive funds for their innovative educational programs, technology updates and additional professional development.

 I ask Carla what would you like to see the VHCSF provide in the future? “I would love to see the VHCSF continue to provide the VHCS with financial assistance. The VHCSF enables schools the opportunity to dream large and pilot new technology, purchase items for classrooms that general funds don’t allow for and  provide the latest professional growth for teachers. By continuing to grow the Education Endowment, the VHCSF would have additional funds to make an even larger impact."

 “I think the VHCSF allows the teachers and leaders of the system the opportunity to DREAM BIG and to be a major force as the best school system in the state”. It makes me proud to work for a system where the VHCSF sees the importance in supporting it's schools”.