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Established in 1989, the Oldham County Educational foundation fosters business and community support for Oldham County Schools, the eighth-largest public school district in Kentucky. OCEF supports the educational mission of the Oldham County Board of Education by providing monetary support for program outside of the district's budget.
Currently, OCEF is focused on several key funding priorities: STEM initiatives (science, technology, engineering and math), gifted and talented services, the Oldham County Schools Arts Center and the annual Pyramid Awards. The annual Pyramid Awards are a cornerstone of OCEF and fund innovative classroom instruction through grants to teachers. Through these awards, the Foundation has awarded more than $256,000 to more than 430 teachers since 1990.
OCEF's partnership with the Oldham County Schools Arts Center allows students to engage in a variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in the performing arts, visual arts and music.
In 2014, with OCEF's support, the school district opened the OCS Engineering Academy, a Project Lead The Way-based program for high school students that provides project-based engineering instruction coupled with a math course each year.
Gifted and Talented Educational Services also receive support from OCEF, which allows for the expansion of programs for the approximately 600 students identified at gifted/talented. This includes funding for the Oldham County Summer Scholars program, Fit For Life summer physical education program, summer robotics camp, field trips and robotics clubs.
In addition, OCEF provides regular funding to support the Oldham County Preschool and the Junior Guard program. The Preschool is a blended state-funded and HeadStart program, meaning it serves economically disadvantaged students as well as students with disabilities. The Junior Guard program is affiliated with the Kentucky National Guard and provides education centered around leadership, teamwork and ethics.
OCEF's much-needed support fills in where the district's budget cannot, and provides an avenue for businesses and individuals to be engaged with their local school district. Oldham County currently receives less state funding than most Kentucky districts, ranking 163rd out of 173 districts. The district received $3,968 per pupil in state funding during the 2012-13 school year, compared to a state average of $4,636.