San Dieguito Academy, La Costa Canyon Foundations make big impact on schools


At the June 22 board meeting, the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) board celebrated its four high school foundations and another successful year of fundraising to support all students.

“We can’t say thank you enough,” said SDUHSD Vice President Mo Muir.

In his last meeting as superintendent, Eric Dill said there are many things that the district would be unable to provide without the parent community providing those opportunities for students. When parents give, Dill said, they are donating for the experience of all students in the school.

“Our decisions are based on an understanding of the goals and the priorities of our school and that the programs we support will have the biggest impact on the most number of students,” said Leslie Saldana, executive director of San Dieguito High School Academy Foundation.

Saldana said it was a “terrific” year for the SDA Foundation, bringing in $750,000 and exceeding revenue goals by 25 percent. She said the average donation was about $270 from approximately 1,000 donors, but the most significant contribution was the “time, talent and treasure” of the San Dieguito parent volunteers and community enriching every student’s SDA experience.

“The fingerprints of the foundation are all over our campus,” Saldana said, noting they supported 20 athletic teams, parent forums on issues, senior scholarships and held a Grad Nite on campus designed and coordinated by over 200 parent volunteers.

The foundation supported an on-campus writing lab staffed by a San Dieguito alum that reached over 400 students; counseling support and career and college services, including a career fair with mock interviews; and a visual and performing arts artist in residence program.

The school has also received support from local government, corporate partners, booster groups and loyal alumni.

“As an alumna, parent of alumni and executive director, I’ve always maintained that San Dieguito is a special place. The work the SDA Foundation does in support of all students is both humbling and meaningful and I’m proud to be able to share our success,” Saldana said. “I’m grateful for the tireless hours of our volunteers, the generosity of our donors and the collaboration with the district and our community.”

Although not present at the meeting, Dale Jaggers, executive director of the La Costa Canyon High School Foundation, said 2017-18 was a record year of support from the generous Maverick community.

“Because of that support, we have been able to grant more money to our teachers, classrooms and students than we ever have before,” wrote Jaggers in a message to families.

The LCC Foundation provided over $100,000 to the school for crucial supplies, curriculum and needs balanced across all academic areas on campus. Contributions included $30,000 toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs; $29,000 on studio arts which includes art classes, culinary arts, shaping, video-film and fashion; and $11,500 toward performing arts of theater and music.

The foundation supported wellness assemblies and speaker series, special education and $18,500 in support of humanities programs of English, social science and languages.

“None of this even includes the generous donations for individual sports and club programs which the Foundation also manages to help every one of our athletic teams excel,” wrote Jaggers. “I cannot extend my thanks enough to all of those that have played a role in this process. As a community, we have made a huge impact on our school.”

In the southern portion of the district, the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation had a record year of $1.9 million and Torrey Pines High School Foundation also brought in $1.9 million.

At the June 21 board meeting, SDUHSD Trustee Amy Herman said while the financial support is important, all of the volunteer time that the foundation provides is even more so.

“As you know, we’re not a very well-funded school district. We get along with a lot less money than many other school districts in the state,” board member Joyce Dalessandro said. “It’s just phenomenal that we have those things because of the foundations and all of the hard work of parents and executive directors who do such an incredible job of keeping it going.”