Oliver Foundation awards grant to Zavala Careers and Community Program

Posted on September 24, 2021

Ector County ISD has been selected to receive $3,000 from the Oliver Foundation to Zavala Careers and Community Program. Zavala Elementary serves students in grades prekindergarten through second grade.

The Zavala Careers and Community Program is an innovative project that has the potential to impact student learning, lives and citizenry in the Permian Basin. Through after school and in class lessons in economics, mathematics, language arts, fine arts and community education, students will operate a mini-Society type program.

Store fronts for the program will be built and decorated to look like businesses, grocery stores and community service entities. This mini-town will have businesses, peace keepers, community helpers, medical clinics, a court system and more, a news release said.

Students will create their own businesses, have jobs and provide community services. A banking system and circulation of a currency system, along with a student led news station and a post office will be created. Students will learn by real-life experiences, cutting across all subject areas in the curriculum.

Some store fronts and supplies will be sponsored by area businesses, while others will need funding. The goal is for each student to have a job and a purpose in the community. The district would like to have a Big Lots store front at the school. Approximately 500 students at Zavala Elementary will participate, with learning outcomes reflecting achievement and growth in reading and mathematics. Students will learn how economy, social science, nutrition and community works, the release said.

“We are grateful to Oliver Foundation for believing in our students … the future of Ector County,” ECISD Development Director Celeste Potter said in the release. “Through the Zavala Careers and Community Program students will become critical thinkers and problem solvers that apply academic learning to real-life experiences. Students will learn about our community and how they may take an active role, as a student and later on as an adult, in ensuring our community thrives.”

Zavala Principal Tanya Galindo said in the release that the grant provided by the Oliver Foundation will be “extremely helpful in assisting with the resources necessary to reach our goal.  We are honored to be the recipients of the Oliver Foundation and are excited to see the many ways our Zavala program will thrive.”