Donations to SMMEF fund vital programs that support all students.
Read below for more information about the programs donations fund and click the link on the right to see how SMMEF supports each of the 16 schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
Annually Funded Programs
Every student from Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade receives 30 weeks of a comprehensive Visual and/or Performing Arts Program, provided by P.S. ARTS. High-quality arts programs for all elementary students distinguishes SMMUSD as one of the few districts in the state to have a comprehensive K-12 visual and performing arts program. The arts encourage students to explore their creative potential, advance problem-solving abilities, develop teamwork skills, and practice critical thinking while sparking their imaginations.
In recent years, an increasing number of studies link cognition, social and emotional development with the arts. Some of this research indicates that students in schools where the arts are an integral part of the academic program tend to have an academic advantage over students for whom that is not the case.
Instructional assistants at all elementary schools enable small group and individualized instructions. Instructional assistants receive ongoing training in the same research-based strategies used by our teachers so they can work effectively with faculty to create a responsive classroom for every student to learn and succeed.
Each school receives discretionary funds to provide academic and enrichment programs unique to its school community. These grants are often used for science and technology, additional arts education and student health and well-being programs.
Programs Funded Through Endowments, Events and Earned Income
3rd Grade Recorders
SMMEF funds recorders for all third graders for use in their general music classes. These classes give our young students a comprehensive introduction to music, the first step in the district’s renowned music program.
SMMEF funds a Dance Specialist, Robert Gilliam, in our Santa Monica middle schools and at Malibu High School. Mr. Gilliam is best known for his elaborate spectacles of fusion choreography, and his unique style of rhythmic dance comes from years of studying ballet, modern, jazz and traditional African dance. Mr. Gilliam’s classes inspire creativity, focus, and passion for the arts in his students.
Dream Winds, Dream Strings and Dream Voice
The Dream programs provide additional teaching support in music classes. Dream Winds and Dream Voice are at our four Title 1 elementary schools. Dream Winds and Dream Strings are at our two Title 1 middle schools (the elementary Dream Strings program is funded by the Gail Dorin Foundation).
Guitar & Music Performance Classes
SMMEF is honored to fund both music classes at Olympic High School: guitar and music performance. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of instrument technique, reading music and applied theory. They have the opportunity to study bass, piano and drums and learn how to perform as part of a band. Professional musicians visit the class to give students the benefit of real world experience. Past guests have included Jackson Browne, Norwood Fisher (Fishbone), Mike Lennon (Venice), Rowan Robertson (Dio) and Emmy and Grammy Award winning guitarist and composer Peter Harris (Bruce Hornsby, Chuck Mangione).
High School Theatre
SMMEF gives grants to all three high schools’ theater programs to fund the purchase of theater equipment and the hiring of specialists critical to the success of drama programs and performances. Current funding goals for our high school theater programs include: upgrades to sound equipment; specialists such as a costume designers, lighting designers, and set designers to work with students; and a movement instructor.
Middle School Theatre
SMMEF partners with PTSAs at Lincoln and John Adams Middle Schools to provide an after-school drama program. SMASH students participate in the JAMS program. Over 150 students enjoy these after-school programs. Malibu Middle School theater students benefit from funding through SMMEF’s grant to Malibu High.
SMMEF supports all 16 school libraries through the American Book Drive. SMMEF receive a portion of the online sales of books donated at the American Book Drive bins on each school’s campus proceeds from online sales of books donated to the American Book Drive.
Semi-Private Music Lessons
Students grade 4 through 12 enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program are eligible to take semi-private music lessons in strings, voice and winds. These lessons will be provided on a weekly basis during the school year by District-approved music teachers. This gives interested students the opportunity to further their love of music and stay involved in the District’s award-winning music program. This funding comes from the Peggy Bergmann Arts Endowment Fund, in memory of Lenore Bergmann and John Elmer Bergmann.
Visual Arts Grants
SMMEF gives grants to secondary Visual Arts teachers for materials, supplies and equipment necessary to enhance the visual art program District-wide. Grants have been used for new printers, ink, and special paper for the digital design classes; a kiln and special supplies for the ceramics classes; and a variety of books on art-related subjects.
This five-week summer enrichment program, sponsored in partnership with the Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs, serves both elementary and middle school students in Santa Monica and Malibu.