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Glendale Educational Foundation announces fitness focus

Dunsmore Elementary students participate in Jump Rope for Heart

Dunsmore Elementary students participate in the American Heart Assn.'s Jump Rope for Heart event in this file photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. The Glendale Educational Foundation announced Thursday its new mission to raise funds to support each Glendale Unified school’s health and fitness program.

(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

Members of the Glendale Educational Foundation have a new mission, and for the next two years, their mantra will be: “Get Everybody Fit.”

Through a comprehensive fundraising effort, they plan to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support each Glendale Unified school’s health and fitness program.

Toni Beck Espinoza, foundation president, announced the goal on Thursday during the foundation’s annual State of the Schools breakfast, which brought hundreds of local business leaders, educators and financial backers to the gymnasium at Edison Elementary School.

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For the past two years, the foundation focused on purchasing robotics kits for students from kindergarten through high school.

It was one of many initiatives the foundation has taken on since its establishment in 2005.

By the end of 2015, the foundation raised more than $2.5 million to pay for various instructional tools, including teacher training, Glendale High School’s animation academy, science lab supplies, musical instruments and fitness equipment.

It was the first State of the Schools event for Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred Roberson, Jr., who said that one of his priorities is to push students’ involvement in clubs, sports or other extra-curricular activities to boost their academic, social and emotional well-being.

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In thanking teachers for their contributions, Roberson asked all teachers in attendance to stand. He then proclaimed them the “heart and soul of education.”

The foundation also recognized one local teacher, Dominique Evans-Bye, who was named a Glendale Unified and Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year.

At Clark Magnet High School, Evans-Bye has taught her students how to map the ocean and analyze data using a geographic-information system, among other lessons geared toward scientific learning.

The key to her success, she said, involved taking time out of her classroom to pursue more training.

“You get out there and do the extra work, and bring it back to the classroom, and students succeed,” she said.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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