The Washington Parent Group Fund, a fund-raising organization for public schools in low-income neighborhoods, presented awards to supporting corporations and foundations and "graduated" one of its charter schools during recent ceremonies at the Sumner School.
The ceremony included remarks by School Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie and Board of Education Pres. R. David Hall.
The organization assists parent groups in developing fund-raising projects and secures funds from corporations and foundations.
The money is used to finance educational enrichment projects -- expanded reading, math and art programs, field trips and special tutoring programs -- that needy schools often cannot afford.
In 1981, the organization was formed by local business leaders, then-School Superintendent Vincent E. Reed and the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
That year, the group raised $7,600 for educational enrichment projects at nine schools; for the 1986-87 school year it raised $92,665 for 46 member schools.
The nine charter schools, all in Southeast are: Ballou Senior High; Friendship Educational Center; Nichols Avenue Follow-Through Program; and Beers, Randle Highlands, King (formerly called Congress Heights), Simon, Stanton and Turner elementary schools.
The Beers Elementary School at 36th Place and Alabama Avenue SE, having demonstrated its ability to raise money independent of the Washington Parent Group Fund, has "graduated" and will no longer receive funds from the organization.
In 1981, the Beers school raised $2,000 on its own. Last year, it raised $12,500.
The school will remain in the organization, working with other schools in the program.
Citing the Washington Parent Group Fund's growth, Hall spoke of "the tremendous progress that has been made," and said the organization "takes a few dollars and puts them in the right place and the right hands."
McKenzie said, "The involvement of parents improves the quality of education. It puts to rest the contention that parents are not interested in their children."
Mary Maloney, who was principal at Beers from 1964 until her retirement last year, said the Washington Parent Group Fund helps to foster a "greater sense of community among the parents."
At the ceremony, commemorative posters were given to representatives of member corporations and foundations.
The posters, designed by architect John Wiebenson, feature a blue flag displaying the map of the District and the names of the charter schools.