About BVEF

The Bennett Valley Education Foundation (BVEF or Foundation) was established in 1992 as a California non-profit tax exempt corporation and is legally and financially separate from the school district. At that time, state budget cuts and education cuts resulted in school curriculum cuts and more were expected. In the summer of that year, a group of concerned parents took action to form an ad hoc committee and the roots of the organization were born. Since that time and, through the efforts and with the support of a great many in the community, arts education has been preserved for our children.

Under the bylaws, the BVEF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which includes four ex-officio members (the Superintendent, The President of the Board of Trustees and two teacher representatives) and at least twelve members from the school district community. While the Foundation is independent, we work to communicate and cooperate with the teachers, the district staff, and trustees as we share the goal of ensuring top quality education for all the children of our District.

Our Mission Statement: To raise funds to support and enhance the educational experiences of the students of the Bennett Valley Union School District. The Foundation currently funds the District-wide Art and Music Programs.

Just some benefits of arts education in young lives:
– Art stimulates both sides of the brain
– Multiple studies have shown that kids who make art both read better and also score better in both science and mathematics
– Art promotes self esteem
– Art develops better hand/eye coordination
– Art teaches creative problem solving
– Art promotes team work, creates cultural and historical awareness, and provides affirmation through achievement
– Art nourishes the human soul

Click here to read over our program brochure for 2019-2020

Our Programs

Music Appreciation with Kara Kaufman: Kara Kaufman is a dedicated and passionate musical professional who brings a wealth of elementary music experience to the Bennett Valley District. Kara is also the elementary music teacher at the Mark West Springs Union School District, where she directs students in the choir, band, and orchestra.  A gifted vocalist and instrumentalist, with a personal passion for the violin, Kara’s dynamic curriculum creatively engages students through music, enabling them to gain an appreciation for music theory, musical history, world music, rhythm, singing, and the performing arts. 

Visual Art with Kelley O’Leary: Kelley O’Leary, our Artist-in-Residence,  is a professional visual artist and designer emphasizing in people, places, technology and feelings.  Born and raised in Massachusetts, Ms. O’Leary believes in helping students bring to life the stories behind their art through diverse mediums, such as photography, collage, ceramics and pastels.  BVEF funding offers students diverse opportunities to express themselves through the medium of art  instruction and class interaction.   The importance of art is highlighted through relevant art history, structured to the curriculum and abilities of the different grade levels.  Through the art-making process, students develop confidence, skills and practice constructive thinking. Students are also engaged in the creation of unique works of art for BVEF’s annual Valley of the Arts fundraiser.

Multicultural Music, Movement, and Dance with Tina Malone: Earnestine (Tina) Malone has been dancing for 30+ years and teaching dance for 20 years. Her childhood dreams of following her uncle’s footsteps as a Broadway dancer and choreographer led her to launch M. Studio Dance Company in 2010 and after school program “KidzGroove” in 2011. At both Yulupa and Strawberry Schools, Tina teaches students to express themselves with dance, enjoy dance as exercise, and appreciate the origins of the dances they perform. Students establish a cultural connection to each grade level’s history curriculum.

Art Docents: BVEF trains parent volunteers to lead art lessons, offering a fun, hands-on way to bring classroom studies to life. Each class enjoys 2-3 art docent lessons utilizing various media including clay, paper, acrylic and watercolor paint, and more, all coordinated with grade level academic studies.

First-Year & Advanced Band Programs: Strawberry’s band programs are led by professional musician, Jim Passarell, who plays virtually every instrument you can think of. These programs teach students to read music and play their instrument independently and with fellow musicians in both concert performances and as a marching band in the Rose Parade. Band and Percussion (see below) Programs are open to all students. Practices are held in the mornings before the start of the school day.

Percussion: Patrick O’Connell is a noted percussionist who has performed for three U.S. Presidents! His program is a specialty for our district. Students learn to read music, rhythm, proper technique, and to play with other musicians. Drummers are included in the band for all concerts and events.

Strawberry Gleeagles (Chorus): Kara Kaufman brings her wealth of hands-on choir experience to Bennett Valley, as she is also currently the director of the elementary choir in the Mark West Springs Union School District.  Strawberry’s very popular choral music program introduces students to choral music, rounds, beginning harmonies and singing both accompanied and a Capella. Open to all Strawberry students, the Gleeagles practice Wednesday afternoons immediately following school.