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Missoula schools celebrate special gift

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Missoula County Public Schools got a little extra love this Valentine’s Day from the Missoula Education Foundation. Four lucky schools were chosen at random to receive extra funding for field trips.

Superintendent Mark Thane drew names out of a hat to choose the winners: Cold Springs Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Russell Elementary and Big Sky High School. Each will get $750 in extra funding for field trips.

While $750 may not seem like much, Thane says it will go a long way for classrooms. Thane says he’s grateful for the Missoula Education Foundation’s donation, especially after state and federal budget cuts.

“For the opportunity these students will have to get out of the classroom, get out in the community and do some place-based education and to expand their horizons is really huge,” he says.

MEF Executive Director Elizabeth Ettenger understands the need, and says Feb. 14 was the perfect day to show love for public schools.

“We wanted  to come out and show how much we care about Missoula County Public Schools and public schools generally,” Ettenger says. “And that we are here and willing to support.”

Ettenger says 91 percent of the foundation’s funding goes to Title I schools, which have a majority of students from low income families. That’s why it’s important to provide opportunities like field trips for students to get outside of the Missoula area, since many might not be able to otherwise due to tight budgets.

“If we expect civic-minded students to grow and contribute productively to the community, we have to afford them opportunities to be a part of that community,” Thane says.

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