Help pours in rebuild SJ's Trace Elementary

Arson investigators are at the scene of the fire at Trace Elementary School on Dana Avenue where one firefighter was injured.
September 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Efforts to rebuild San Jose's Trace Elementary School, destroyed this summer in a six-alarm fire, continue to build momentum.

The devastation caused by the July fire at Trace Elementary School unleashed a flurry of donations. About $160,000 came in from individuals, more than enough to cover the $100,000 fire insurance deductible.

This week, school officials received another major donation from the silicon valley community foundation, bolstered by a challenge match from the Kriens Family Fund.

"From that we ended up with $130,000 that came to Trace, what an amazing story that was. We had donations come as far as London, England," said.

Now the big push is to replace classroom materials lost in the fire -- the hands-on learning tools teachers bought through the years with their own money.

"To have colorful pieces of fraction tiles that make that kind of learning come alive and so kids can see that how one-half and one-fourth add up, and we can just help our teachers make that learning fun," said.

RAFT, or Resource Area for Teaching, is a non-profit organization that is superstore for teachers. It creates learning kits, assembled by volunteers, using surplus or cast-off materials, for a fraction of retail cost.

RAFT has kicked off an online campaign to buy gift cards for trace's teachers and one of the first companies to respond is Sunnyvale's NetApp.

"By making a donation to a nonprofit like RAFT, then the teachers at Trace will be able to leverage their purchasing power significantly because the prices at RAFT are so low that they'll more quickly be able to refurbish their supplies," said.

The school district embraces and appreciates the support the community has been giving to rebuild Trace Elementary. At the same the same time, this campaign frees up the school district to focus on rebuilding the structure, a process that will take several years.


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