Two million dollars in funded projects after its 1983 founding, the private-sector Association for Excellence in Education gained approval Monday from the Tupelo Public School Board for $86,903 in special projects proposed by the district's teachers for the 2005-2006 academic year.
AEE, as the organization is generally known, enables a striving for instructional excellence in Tupelo's public schools through special initiatives that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
The projects – fully funded by AEE's corps of donors, not tax sources – range from kindergarten music to elementary school Shakespeare to middle school publishing. All are student-centered, offering a step beyond the ordinary and expected in special challenges and opportunities.
An independent committee screened and evaluated the project applications. Awards range from $225 to $10,000. Each carries higher expectations and responsibilities for both teachers and students. None could go forward without the trustees' approval.
AEE opens its membership to everyone; the minimum membership is $25. Singles, couples, parents, school community supporters, businesses and corporations support the cause.
This year's annual luncheon April 21 at Joyner Elementary School is both a celebration and an affirmation of AEE's mission and accomplishments.
This school year's projects will be featured in colorful displays for viewing, beginning at 11:15 a.m., followed by the program and lunch at 12:15 p.m.
The deadline for reservations is April 14 at 840-1847.
AEE and the school district's work together represents the best in public-private sector partnerships and wide involvement in support of public education.
At its beginning AEE was unique in Mississippi, and only a handful of other public school districts nationwide equal its record of support from private sources.
AEE doesn't seek a high profile for itself because the important achievements happen in individual schools and classrooms. It is a conduit for private investment in the most important enterprise any community can undertake: preparing students to succeed.
We encourage support for AEE at the personal and business levels because we believe in what can be achieved in public education.
To join an online discussion of this topic, log on to www.djournal.com, or respond at firstname.lastname@example.org for publication as a letter to the editor.