Peoria flex academy principal Cybill Jacobs

Peoria flex academy principal Cybill Jacobs created a curriculum not typically offered in public education. (Photo courtesy Peoria Unified School District)

This is a busy time of year for the Peoria Education Foundation - which supports Peoria Unified School District by providing grants to Peoria Unified teachers and scholarships to students.

The Scholarship Review Commit- tee is reviewing students’ scholarships which will be voted on this month. Teachers just submitted grant applications two weeks ago for consideration for the 2019-20 school year that will also be voted on in the months ahead.

During the spring semester, the PEF will hold a handful of fundraising events, such as the Education Visionary Awards and the Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival, to try and raise funds to further support its mission and vision (providing more grants and scholarships to teachers and students).

There are many different ways in which individuals can support the foundation. It has been supporting the Peoria Unified School District since 1987.

Peoria Flex Academy Principal Cy- bill Jacob wrote about her PEF grant from last year. Her grant was called “Intentional Living” and she described the courses in the Intentional Living classes. Jacobs described her classes and how it helped her overcome her shyness and give students a new way to look at learning.

The Intentional Living Course is a mindfulness approach to learning. It puts the student in the driver’s seat as they navigate through a choice menu of coursework every three weeks. The students learn skills that are not typically offered in public education and al- lows them an introduction into various experiences that many have never been exposed.

“The students were so engaged and wanting to be included in our Term 2 session that several students who had release time asked to enroll for the full day,” Jacobs said. “That never hap- pens.”

The students were surveyed to not only create the courses but then surveyed at the conclusion. They gave a solid 4.4 of 5.0 rating and had this to say:

  • I learned how to be more creative and to bond with people
  • I learned to not be scared and to just go for it. I almost said no to this one (year- book) but I was put in it anyway and ended up really liking it, as I’ve never had the opportunity to be in something like this because of how shy I am.
  • Staying away from phone screens can really open new perspectives to how other people act rather than guessing how they act over the phone.
  • The courses offered were:
  • Hiking Arizona
  • Got Money? Dress for success, inter- view and get that job!
  • Sewing 101
  • The Great Outdoors
  • The Handy Person: Fix that before you hire!
  • Recreational Sports
  • Gaming Old School
  • Slow Cooking for Fast Eating
  • Smokin’ Hot: Cooking outdoors with grills, smokers and lots of flavor!
  • Trashy Treasures: Repurpose that old stuff
  • Acts of Kindness: Pay it Forward
  • Healthy Living: Yoga, Mindfulness and Self-Care
  • Urban Art
  • Urban Gardening: Art, succulents, furniture creation