PREFund has been instrumental in transforming Daniel Webster Elementary (DW) from a school slated for closure into one of San Francisco Unified School District’s hidden gems.
Our founders were part of a group of parents and neighbors who rallied for an intense, and ultimately successful, grassroots campaign to overturn the closure recommendation from SFUSD and its Board of Education. A multi-part plan to raise enrollment was presented as part of this campaign, and PREFund was formalized in 2006 with a sole focus on implementing it.
The plan included:
- establishing a preschool on campus
- securing a magnet program, specifically a Spanish immersion language program
- improving its physical appearance
- augmenting its teaching staff
- underwriting academic and extracurricular enrichment activities
After securing a favorable long-term lease from the San Francisco Unified School District, PREFund raised nearly $500,000 in grants and donations to retrofit three unused portables on the DW site for use as a preschool. Doors opened for Potrero Kids at Daniel Webster’s inaugural class in the Fall of 2008.
That same Fall, the second piece of the plan was realized with the establishment of two Spanish immersion kindergarten classes. The SFUSD awarded this program to DW thanks in part to PREFund’s efforts to secure commitments from neighborhood families that they would include a DW immersion program on their kindergarten application despite the school’s unfavorable history.
The final part of PREFund’s plan was physical and curricular support and that is ongoing. Based on a PREFund application, DW was selected by Rebuilding Together San Francisco (RTSF) as its 2008 “lead project.” Corporate volunteers repainted the school’s exterior and renovated existing garden areas, dramatically transforming the school’s physical appearance. Spectacular murals and beautiful gardens now grace DW’s campus, thanks to the combined efforts of RTSF, DW, corporate and community volunteers, and PREFund.
Additionally, PREFund has continued its support for DW by funding after-school tutors, play yard facilitators, a garden curriculum, and a sports program. Currently we are funding Outdoor Education for 4th and 5th graders.