Past Programs Sponsored by SCEF


Kids EXPLORE After School

'Explore' is a Santa Cruz City School’s district-wide program that offers a wide range of affordable, quality after school enrichment classes at all 5 elementary schools. Click to learn more.


Achievement Via Individual Determination

The Foundation provides funding to all of our middle and high schools for tutor/mentors, field trips to colleges and special events. AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness program that increases schoolwide learning and performance. The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS) accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.

Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple – raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What differentiates AVID from other educational reform programs is its astounding success rate. Since 2005, nearly 125,000 AVID students have graduated from high school and planned to attend college. Of the 27,891 AVID graduates in 2011, 91% plan to attend a postsecondary institution; 58% in four-year institutions and 33% in two-year institutions.


Outdoor Science School

Ten years ago, the decades long tradition of sending 5th graders to Outdoor Science School came to an end due to budget cuts. Teachers and families noticed immediately the impact the loss had on classroom learning. The Santa Cruz Education Foundation stepped forward to restore the program and facilitate logistical coordination.

Today, every 5th grader has the opportunity, regardless of ability to pay, to attend a week-long hands on science experience led by expert naturalists and accompanied by their classroom teachers. In their field week, they become inspired learners, independent individuals and knowledgeable stewards of their environment.

Santa Cruz City Schools students show outstanding test scores in middle school science – the result of a community effort to ensure that all students receive not only classroom instruction, but also hands-on experience in a natural setting.

Outdoor Science School is made possible by a strong collaboration between our business community, the elementary school parent organizations, Santa Cruz City Schools and the Foundation.



Playworks is a recess coaching program in the four elementary schools that gets students active and moving, promotes positive, inclusive play and teaches simple, effective conflict resolution tools.


El Sistema Santa Cruz

El Sistema Santa Cruz is a pilot afterschool orchestra program for elementary school students currently hosted at Gault Elementary School. Modeled after the highly regarded program first developed in Venezuela, El Sistema creates a community of scholars and musicians who take pride in their accomplishments.


Food What?! Farmers Markets

The Foundation underwrites Farmers Markets located at Gault Elementary (and during summer 2011 at Bay View Elementary). The produce is grown by and the market is staffed by student leaders from the Food What?! program. Many of these interns are former Gault and Bay View students, serving their neighbors with high quality affordable organic produce.

Watershed Education

Teachers and students deepen their knowledge by submersing themselves in hands-on science at the water’s edge of our rivers and reservoir. This program is made possible for all 5th graders through SCEF support and a grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

Middle School Arts Academies

Guided by professionals from the community, Mission Hill and Branciforte students explore theater arts, bicycle maintenance, making flutes by hand, science experimentation, engineering, dance and more in this weekly afterschool program.

Visual and Performing Arts Funding

The Foundation supports visual arts and music teachers at all of our schools collaborating to support and expand programs.

Student Art Displays

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation joins the Santa Cruz City Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County in supporting annual Children’s Art Exhibition Series at Santa Cruz City Hall.

Life Lab Garden Classrooms

In our elementary school life lab programs students not only learn about science and nature, but also learn good nutrition and the joy of growing and eating fresh produce.