The YES Foundation is the public-school foundation supporting Brookside, Hidden Valley, Manor, Wade Thomas and White Hill Schools.
Our Mission: YES secures the necessary funding and advocates for programs that provide all children in the Ross Valley School District access to a complete education, including meaningful and sustained exposure to the arts and other vibrant educational programs.
The YES Story
After Prop 13 reduced state financing of public schools in the 1970’s and California began to cut funding for the arts in public education, a group of concerned parents started the Ross Valley Community for Schools (RVCS) to provide funding to sites for art, music and theater. That effort, combined with funding at each site, paid for about 18 weekly art and music classes a year and subsidized the theater program that produced a play for third through eighth graders.
In 1999, parents Lisa Canin and Katie Rice partnered with superintendent Jan Derby to ensure program equity across the schools, and build more focused fundraising and program advocacy to fuel more robust art and music programs and provide greater funding accountability across the district. They and their founding board evolved RVCS into YES, The Ross Valley Schools Foundation.
With the help of Superintendent Derby, The Round Table was formed and Parent Club/PTA representatives, site council presidents, school principals and foundation representatives negotiated the Round Table Agreement to assure that every child would receive the same resources while schools would be able to fund their own priorities. The agreement provided for a per-student fundraising cap at each site and stipulated that the balance would go to YES to be distributed equitably through YES programs. In 2001-02, the total raised was $428K. YES now raises over $1M annually. When the foundation started, elementary art and music were taught by specialists for part of the year. Now they’re taught by credentialed art and music teachers weekly for the entire year.
Most importantly, Family Giving, YES’s core fundraising effort reflects the community’s deep commitment to the programs YES funds. When YES had to stop selling lunches due to a California State Ed Code change, the community stepped up to replace the lost $80K. When the district suffered severe funding cuts from the state in 2008-09, the community provided YES another $80K to take on short-term funding of elementary PE.
YES programs have flourished. Art and Music both provide a comprehensive, developmental curriculum for students K-5, and dynamic, electives at the middle school. YES is the district’s primary source of new library books. Poetry, White Hill Wildcat Activities (lunchtime clubs and after-school sports) are thriving; YES now also funds two 6th grade Inventors Labs as part of the White Hill Engineering program. The YES Theater provides 3rd through 8th graders with an authentic theater experience, including KidTech that gives students the opportunity to develop the tech components and run each show.