The Jacksonville Public Education Fund today launched PowerUP Jax, a new initiative to fuel innovation in public school classrooms across Duval County by funding teachers' creative classroom projects. PowerUP Jax is an online portal where community members can invest in innovative projects designed by teachers in Duval County.
"You don't have to be Warren Buffett to invest in a brilliant idea," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "Teachers in Duval County have creative project proposals to boost student achievement - and now everyone in our community has the power to make those dreams a reality."
The site allows teachers in every public school in Duval County to highlight their projects on the site with a budget for supplies. Investors can search by school, subject or teacher name and donate an amount of their choice - from $5 to $500 - to fund the project. Teachers and investors can share the project with others through social media and e-mail. When all funds have been raised, the teacher can order the project supplies, conduct the project and communicate directly with donors to share the impact on students.
Community First Cares Foundation, operated by Community First Credit Union, is the lead sponsor for PowerUP Jax, and has granted the organization $25,000, the first $5,000 of which will match projects dollar for dollar. In addition to sponsoring the program, the Community First Cares Foundation will sponsor a new Innovation in Education Award to be presented at the annual EDDY Awards.
"Community First Cares Foundation is proud to support transformational projects like PowerUP Jax," said John Hirabayashi, CEO of Community First Credit Union. "Our roots are in education and community service and this project is a great example of the importance of community engagement in the future of our children."
Wednesday's launch event took place at Susie Tolbert Elementary, where third grade teacher Susan Burns and her students featured a project called "Lights, Camera, Vegetables!" This gardening and multimedia project will incorporate opportunities for academic and whole child development, and strengthen the home-school connection.
"We are excited about PowerUp Jax and the additional resources and support it provides our schools," said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. "There is great teaching and learning happening in so many Duval schools; this initiative affords teachers the opportunity to showcase the innovative and engaging work they're doing to prepare students for success."