By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN At the Delano School District, PIE doesn’t refer to a tasty dessert, but instead stands for Partners in Education a group that some may think is just as sweet.
PIE raises money for Delano’s elementary school, middle school, and high school, providing equipment, technology, and curriculum to enhance learning. PIE also works to bring the community together with special events and activities.
The organization currently works separately by school, but this year, they’ve started to combine their efforts.
“They want to develop a closer working relationship between the three schools, so they are not competing for the funds, but share some of the raised funds on district goals,” noted Traci Lawman, the district communications coordinator for Delano Public Schools.
PIE is also working with the Delano Area Education Foundation (DAEF), an organization that focuses on broader objectives within the district.
At the elementary level, one of PIE’s events is Family Fun Night. This year, it is set for Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Tiger Activity Center, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The festivities are free with a Tiger Activity Center membership. Without a membership, the cost is $3 for adults, $2 for children, with a $10 per family maximum.
The elementary school PIE group also has a fundraiser in the fall, called the Fall Holiday Showcase. The group sells items such as jewelry, butter braids, knickknacks, and wrapping paper. Last year, they had a profit of $25,000, according to Jennifer Trujillo, Delano Elementary School PIE co-president.
“That’s our biggest fundraiser,” she said. “It’s been very successful for us.”
PIE pays for one field trip per child, per grade level, and also provides prizes and other incentives for “I love to read month.” Delano Elementary School has also received art materials, recess equipment, SMART boards, and sound systems.
Middle school PIE
The middle school PIE also has a variety of fundraisers throughout the year.
“Our big one is selling frozen cookie dough,” Sue Prok, PIE’s middle school president said.
Other money-raising efforts have included selling district calendars, working at the concession stands, and doing magazine drives.
“The last two years, we’ve donated $8,000 each year to buy supplies for the library, mostly books,” Prok said.
High school PIE
At the high school, PIE is active in several small fundraisers throughout the year.
“We don’t put the same fundraiser on every year,” DeSutter said. In a few weeks, the high school PIE will be selling yard markers and dog tags.
“It’s a little here and a little there, but it adds up,” Delano High School PIE president Lona DeSutter said.
The high school PIE typically raises $3,000 to $5,000 per year.
The money has purchased books for the media center and English department, alcohol awareness curriculum, physical education equipment, a camera for the journalism department, and more.
Ongoing PIE recommended programs include Box Tops for Education, Campbell’s Soup Labels for Education, Food Club Labels for Learning, Kemps Nickels for Schools, Pizza Ranch Circle the Wagons, and more.
PIE plans and pays for the senior brunch on the last day of school. It also helps with a peer help program called Link Crew.
“Link is led by juniors and seniors, and it helps freshman become acclimated to high school,” DeSutter said.
The middle school PIE hosts a staff appreciation dinner each year.
Community events led by the elementary school PIE include the Tiger Fun Fair each April, and the Tiger Sock Hop each fall.
PIE is always looking for more volunteers, Prok said.
“PIE is a good way for parents to get involved with the school and get to know the staff,” she added.
Try a slice of PIE
To become involved in Partners in Education at the Delano School District, contact the group presidents:
• Elementary school: Jennifer Trujillo, (763) 972-8103 or Gwen Egly, (612) 810-1257
• Middle school: Sue Prok, (952) 955-3437
• High school: Lona DeSutter (763) 972-6028