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More educational enrichment, por favor

MandaRun fundraiser plans to cover educational extras
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Running to fund enrichment classes is just one goal of the Loomis Basin Education Foundation’s MandaRun ’09. The third annual 5K, 10K and kids’ fun run starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, and will help fund future enrichment classes for all of the schools in the Loomis Union School District, such as the state-funded Spanish classes offered at Loomis Basin Charter School. Loomis Basin Charter is the only district school currently offering a foreign language program for all of its students, but the Education Foundation wants to change that. Reduced state funding won’t cover it, so the educational support group wants to raise the money to make it happen. All students at the Charter School participate in a Spanish language program four days a week taught by Spanish speaking teachers. Younger students play games, sing songs and name flashcards, all in Spanish. Each year students progress in their foreign language skills. Charter School third-grader Sebastian Mathews, 8, said he’s learning lots of animal names in Spanish. He said he especially likes drawing pictures in his notebook and then writing the Spanish words to go with it. Classmate Anvita Gattani, 8, likes to play Simon Dice (Simon Says). The teacher names a part of the body in Spanish and the students put their hands in the correct spot. Another third-grader, Matthew Madsen, said he likes to learn a lot of new words. “My brother is in the fourth grade and I practice with him at home,” Matthew said. The Education Foundation was established three years ago with the goal of raising money to fund programs to support the district’s strategic plan and benefit all seven district schools. Those schools are Loomis Grammar, Franklin Elementary, Placer Elementary, H. Clarke Powers Elementary, Penryn Elementary, Ophir Elementary and Loomis Basin Charter. The foundation has raised approximately $25,000 that Paul Johnson, district superintendent, said is being saved “to build up the kitty” and eventually fund programs. After its first year in operation, the Education Foundation awarded small grants to teachers and volunteers at various district schools. Johnson said board members found that parent teacher clubs were already funding those programs, so they decided to build up a fund that could support technology and enrichment programs district-wide. District physical education teacher Dustin Fee is helping organize this year’s MandaRun. He said the course will be certified and he is promoting the event to running clubs in the area. “We’ve had great support for the MandaRun from school families and local people. I want to bring in the running community,” Fee said. According to Fee, the first 400 5K and 10K entrants will receive a T-shirt, water bottle and goodie bag. Participants in the kids’ ¼ mile fun run will receive a completion ribbon. The volunteer board members recently began their second annual Giving Campaign and are seeking donations from district families, businesses and the community. The Education Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Education Foundation is also planning its second annual Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 5. More information can be found online at lbef.net.