Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE SPANISH EDUCATION FUND (SEF)?
The SEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed and run by Spanish immersion parent volunteers. Our sole purpose is to raise money and recruit volunteers to support the International Intern Program.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE PTO?
Originally, fundraising and recruiting volunteers for the intern program was done by the PTO, but in 2009 the Spanish Education Fund was formed to take on all responsibilities associated with the intern program. Whereas the PTO continues to support the school, teachers and students through family oriented social and academic events, supplements curriculum resources, organizes parent volunteers, and promotes a strong school community.
WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL INTERN PROGRAM?
The SEF uses the services of Amity International to recruit and sponsor native Spanish speaking young adults from Spain, South America, and Central America with an interest in education to assist teachers and students in Spanish immersion classrooms at Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion School and Central Middle School as well as students enrolled in all levels of Spanish at Eden Prairie High School.
HOW MUCH DOES THE INTERN PROGRAM COST? WHAT DOES THE SEF PAY FOR?
The SEF pays all cost necessary to have interns in the classrooms at our schools. The SEF and the schools receive NO financial support from the school district to support the intern program. The intern program is 100% parent funded.
The intern program costs approximately $5,750 per intern. Typically, we have the equivalent to 16-18 full year interns each year for a total approximate cost of around $97,000. The costs related to the interns include Amity recruiting fees, Visa fees, school day lunches, intern stipends of $300 per month per intern, Intern Program Coordinator stipend, welcome baskets, t-shirts, and extra winter clothing. Our budget also includes expenses necessary to run the SEF which include website and printing related costs, credit card fees, and other small miscellaneous expenses.
HOW DOES THE SEF RAISE THE MONEY TO SUPPORT THE INTERN PROGRAM?
The SEF’s primary source of funds are raised through our Annual Contribution Campaign. Parents write a check or pay with credit card online $150 per child per year, or whatever amount works in their family’s budget. Parents can also set up monthly payments online, spreading their contribution out making it easier on their budget. Additional funds are raised through Corporate Matching. Many of our parents’ employers participate in donation matching programs which can double a family’s donation. The number of interns we have at our schools each year is directly affected by how much money is raised. If we don’t raise the funds needed through Annual Contributions, we will have fewer interns.
WHAT IS CINCO?
Cinco refers to the SEF annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, an adults-only event that includes food, entertainment, live and silent auctions, games and more. Parents, teachers, staff and interns enjoy an evening of socializing and celebrating the year’s accomplishments.
This event originated as one of the SEF’s major fundraisers growing over the years. To reduce the number of asks we make of parents, we have scaled back Cinco to be more of an end-of-the-year celebration. It will still have some of its past fundraising elements such as the live auction, silent auction and games, but will no longer include the online auction which required large amounts of volunteers and volunteer hours.
Parents can participate in this event several ways. They can purchase tickets and attend the event, donate items to the live or silent auction, donate bottles of wine to the cork pull, pay for an intern or teacher to attend, or donate cash.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER FUNDRAISERS?
The SEF also has a few smaller, community fundraisers including Teacher Time Raffle and Student Coin Drive. These are ways for our teachers, students and families to help raise funds and show their support for the intern program.
WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN PARENTS HELP SUPPORT THE INTERN PROGRAM?
Besides financial contributions, we need parents to volunteer in many ways – some big, some small. Parents volunteer to host interns, be a buddy family, drive interns around town, donate winter clothing, assist at intern events like the Intern Festival, help plan and organize Cinco, and be members of SEF committees and the board.
WHAT DOES HOSTING AN INTERN INVOLVE?
EHSI, CMS and EPHS families provide room and board for interns while they are here in Eden Prairie assisting in our classrooms. Families can choose to host an intern for half or the entire school year. Host families are required to provide interns with a private bedroom (with a legal egress window if located in the basement) with a lock on the door, access to a bathroom and all meals, except lunch on school days, including snacks. School day lunches are provided to the interns and paid for by the SEF.
Host families welcome interns into their homes, and they quickly become part of the family participating in family routines and special occasions. Interns improve their English through every day communication with their host families and can help host siblings with their Spanish!
WHAT IS A BUDDY FAMILY? WHAT DO THEY DO?
Buddy families help support the host families and interns. They help with intern transportation, take interns on family outings and are another home for the interns to stay during breaks or vacations when their host family may not be in town. Buddy families help interns get settled in and can plan regular get togethers after school, on the weekends or only get together occasionally with their intern. Whatever works in everyone’s schedules. Interns are typically matched with two buddy families for the entire school year.
WHAT ARE INTERN TRANSPORTATION DRIVERS? HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Since interns don’t typically have driver’s licenses or access to cars, getting around town can be a challenge for them. We ask families to help with the interns’ transportation needs so the burden doesn’t fall solely on host and buddy families. Interns often need transportation home from their weekly after-school meetings, school events (after school and evenings), and social events (evenings and weekends).
Parents can sign up at the Intern Transportation Website to volunteer to drive interns. Parents can sign up on the Monthly Driving Schedule for one shift each month on a specific day/time slot that fits their schedule and could be available to drive. If you sign up on the Monthly Driving Schedule, you may or may not be contacted to drive depending on if any interns need rides that day at that time or not. If you sign up for a shift, please add your information to the Volunteer Drivers list so interns know how to contact you if they need a ride.
Parents can sign up to be an ‘on call’ driver by adding their information to the Volunteer Drivers list. Interns will contact you and others on the list to see who might be available to drive them. You can respond to the intern yes or no depending on your availability.
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