Durham students, teachers focus on equity with help from DPS grants

Erin Batten-Hicks finally found the community she had been missing when she transferred to Hillside High School and joined the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

“I never really had an opportunity to find more queer people and find that community while I was at my other school,” she said. “When I came here, the environment of GSA is just so welcoming.”

As a senior and the president of GSA, Batten-Hicks applied for a grant from the recently launched Durham Public Schools Foundation. She received $500 from the Foundation to carry out a mural project at Hillside High that will depict the life and successes of activist Pauli Murray, a 1926 Hillside alumna.

The Durham Public Schools Foundation, a community-led nonprofit launched in September 2018, provided the grant that will allow Batten-Hicks and the GSA to purchase the supplies needed to paint the mural. Magan Gonzales-Smith, executive director of Durham Public Schools Foundation, said over 70 projects applied for the grants. The foundation was able to distribute $55,800 in grants to 19 projects led by students, teachers and parents across Durham.

Read More
Magan Gonzales-Smith
Durham Public Schools Foundation Hires Executive Director

After an extensive search and hiring process, DPSF is pleased to announce it has hired Magan Gonzales-Smith to be the organization’s Executive Director. Magan's passion for public schools and commitment to education justice is shaped by being the daughter of a first-generation college student and her decade of work with several urban school districts.

“I’m honored to serve the students, educators and families who make up Durham Public Schools in this role. My years working in Durham schools has shown me that we have brilliant students and dedicated educators and I know that when we build community support and investment in them Durham can fulfill the promise of public education for every student.”

Read More
Magan Gonzales-Smith
Durham Public Schools Foundation, Clarion Content

On the first official day of their existence, I met with three representatives of the Durham Public Schools Foundation.

The Durham Public Schools (DPS) Foundation in their own words is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that unites our Durham Public School communities, public- and private- sector resources and community leaders around strategies to strengthen our Durham Public Schools.

Read More
Magan Gonzales-Smith
New foundation asks Durham residents to raise money for public schools, The 9th Street Journal

The state isn’t providing enough money for schools, so business and community leaders say it’s time for the community to pitch in.

They have started a foundation to raise money to support the public schools.

The new Durham Public Schools Foundation, which launched during August’s convocation, lets residents send tax-deductible donations to support the school system. Foundation leaders say the money could help schools pay for expenses the state’s funds cannot cover, such as student field trips or professional development for teachers.

Read More
Magan Gonzales-Smith