Measure K UPDATE

Newcomb Foundation Funds Enrichment

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Despite being housed on a temporary campus during the rebuilding of their school, Newcomb Academy students are still enjoying enrichment programs such as a full-time music teacher and electives like marine biology, photography and home economics.

This fall, all students and staff moved to a temporary campus at the former Keller Elementary School. Meanwhile preparations for demolition have begun on the Newcomb campus, which will be rebuilt completely in time for reopening in fall 2015 as a state-of-the-art site for grades kindergarten through eight.

While Measure K funds are used for the reconstruction, the Newcomb Academy Foundation continues to augment instruction for students. Working closely with the principal, teachers, parents and the PTA, the nonprofit foundation has raised more than $1 million for school programs since its founding almost a decade ago.

Led by an all-volunteer board of parents and friends of the school, the foundation is one of several such groups in the school district that raise funds to support particular schools. The Long Beach Education Foundation also assists schools with supplemental funding made possible by donations.

Launched in 2003 by parents Jim Kruger and Juan Salcedo, the Newcomb Academy Foundation has provided funding of about $150,000 annually for teacher salaries, equipment and supplies. Their largest fundraiser is an annual June golf tournament and a "Circle of Friends" dinner, according to Kruger.

"We are fortunate to enjoy great support from parents and community members, including local businesses," Kruger said. "The community understands how special Newcomb is and has come out to lend support year after year."

Newcomb students raise funds every March with a "Jump for the Foundation" event that also helps raise awareness about the need for heart-healthy activities. Other students raise funds through the "Spartan Sprint," an annual event where pledges are solicited to sponsor participants who run laps.

"We are constantly surprised at how many families are willing to help out at whatever level they can," said Andrew Oshrin, foundation president. "Almost three out of four of our students come from outside the neighborhood, so we have many families who are choosing to send their children to Newcomb and are willing to support us. We have more than 1,800 donors in all."

Oshrin said the foundation's vision is to enable all Newcomb students to enjoy enhanced educational opportunities, independent of uncertain state funding.

"Newcomb has produced students who have become leaders," Oshrin said. "We believe that future leaders should have the best and most broadly-based education possible."

According to Oshrin, 96 percent of all contributions go directly back into educational programs, such as the Math+Music curriculum that provides a practical link between math and music. Foundation funds also support scholarships, library technology and books, computer lab equipment and instruction, intramural sports and elective classes.

Oshrin said he supports the rebuilding effort because it will enable Newcomb students to access the latest in wireless technology and provide options for additional academic enrichment that the foundation may fund in the future.

"We are excited that the new school will free us of limitations such as inadequate electrical outlets or Internet capacity," Oshrin said. "I see the foundation and the school working hand in hand to make the educational experience at Newcomb better and better."

For more information, visit the Newcomb Academy Foundation website.