Sponsors, Volunteers Make Over Campuses

With a $135,000 investment from 38 community sponsors, more than 450 volunteers made upgrades this spring to 35 school hallways and finished more than 21 outdoor projects.

(ABOVE: Volunteers spent all day March 23 working at elementary schools throughout Dallas ISD, including campuses in Preston Hollow. Courtesy photos)

Work also included 11 renovated classrooms, six teachers’ lounges modernized, 11 student-inspired murals, and $20,000 in technology upgrades.

Community Campus Day, sponsored by nonprofit United to Learn, impacted more than 13,500 students and 975 educators in Dallas ISD, explained Meredith Ajello, United to Learn’s volunteer coordinator.

Work began on March 23 and continued for weeks as weather allowed until 23 campuses, including nine elementary schools within Preston Hollow, had received updates.

A “zen room” was created at Adams Elementary; kindles were provided for students at DeGolyer Elementary; 10 iPads were donated to Gooch Elementary; Kramer Elementary received a renewed All In Learning license, as well as a repaired outdoor pond; decals were put in the hallways at Pershing Elementary; new projectors were provided to classrooms in Polk Elementary; the teacher’s lounge received updates at Preston Hollow Elementary; Walnut Hill received a landscape cleanup; and makerspace items were installed at Withers Elementary.

Preston Hollow Elementary’s new teacher’s lounge now includes chairs and tables, a Nespresso machine and coffee bar, a rug, and updated cabinets.

The end result goes far beyond just a physical transformation of the campus. -Abigail Williams

“United to Learn is an incredible resource to our school and community, as they consistently and generously support our campus environment,” said Elizabeth Kittleman, Preston Hollow elementary school second-grade teacher. “This year our focus was giving our teachers’ lounge a makeover. A teachers’ lounge is considerably overlooked in schools, yet arguably one of the most important rooms for educators. So, United to Learn approved our grant and partnered us up with some interior designers, who took one look at our teachers’ lounge and knew exactly how to remodel it.”

Community Campus Day was created as a hands-on opportunity for volunteers from businesses to immerse themselves within Dallas ISD for a few hours – and to hopefully form lasting relationships, said Abigail Williams, United to Learn’s founder and executive director.

“The end result goes far beyond just a physical transformation of the campus,” Williams said. “All projects are intended to support the social-emotional health of students and faculty, advance literacy efforts on campus, or create a more inspirational school environment that will lead to higher academic performance, reduced teacher turnover, fewer disciplinary programs, and higher attendance.”

Kittleman said, “It was a great day for community members to join together in supporting our campus environment.”

Timothy Glaze

A journalism graduate of the University of North Texas, Tim has called Dallas home his entire life. He has covered news, schools, sports, and politics in Lake Dallas, Denton, Plano, Allen, Little Elm, and Dallas since 2009 for several publications - The Lake Cities Sun, The Plano Star Courier, the Denton Record Chronicle, and now, People Newspapers. He lives in Denton County with his wife and three dogs.

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