The Washington Elementary School PTA has received a $5,000 school improvement grant, “Toolbox for Education,” from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. The money will be used to help refurbish the kindergarten playground, a hub for both the school and community. Additional funds will be raised through the PTA’s annual spring benefit – the Green and Gold Gala – as well as through donations from individuals, businesses and Washington’s own PTA.

“The project will benefit not only Washington’s kindergarten students, but also the other students throughout the school and children in the surrounding neighborhood – now and for many years to come,” said Washington Principal Kate Ellison. “We extend special thanks to Washington parent Mara Jauntirans for her hard work in helping us secure this grant funding from Lowe’s. Thanks to Mara’s efforts, our fundraising program is off to a terrific start,” she added.

The new play structure, one part of the new playground, will replace old, deteriorating equipment that many enjoy before, during and after school. District 65 is facing a projected deficit of over $5 million in 2017, which means schools increasingly rely on fundraising to support playground or other limited capital improvements, as well as additional resources for teachers and other miscellaneous items. Volunteer support will be needed to help with landscaping and cleanup after Washington’s new playground equipment is installed this summer. “We welcome the help of adults, youth and children in the community to help create a sense of ownership and enthusiasm,” Ms. Ellison said.