Press Releases


The Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) kicked off its 20th anniversary year by unveiling a new logo and announcing a grant to the Ragtag Film Society that brings its total grant allocation to more than $1 million.

CPSF board members, CPSF founders, Columbia Public School teachers and administrators, Ragtag and True/False board members, Ragtag film staff and Columbia Chamber of Commerce representatives were all on hand for the film reel ribbon cutting and new logo unveiling for CPSF.

CPSF was founded in 1996 by a group of community leaders who shared a vision for quality public education. Created as an endowment for Columbia’s youth, CPSF supports quality programs that directly and positively impact student learning. Today CPSF continues to support a strong public education system, as its tagline, Columbia Puts Students First, recognizes.

The grant to fund the Ragtag Film Society Media Literacy Initiative, which totals $114,300 over a three-year period, brings CPSF’s total grants allocation to more than $1 million in funding to support CPS teachers and students since the Foundation started in 1996.

The Ragtag Film Society Media Literacy Initiative is an initiative of the Ragtag Film Society, the umbrella organization of True/False Film Fest and Ragtag Cinema. The grant provides teachers with media literacy instructional strategies and materials and provides students with skills to be thoughtful, critical consumers of media.

“We look forward to the partnership between CPS and The Ragtag Film Society, such a well-known and well-regarded part of our community,” said CPSF board secretary and founding member Sally Silvers. “In this media-laden world our youth are facing, we thought the premise that this grant would provide CPS students with the skills to be thoughtful, critical consumers of media was an excellent direction. As we look back over the Foundation’s 20 years, we have come so far from our initial funding of ‘Dream Writers,’ one of the first portable word processors, to entering the 21st century!”

The grant funds will supplement Columbia Public Schools (CPS) core curriculum by providing screening rights for films and training for teachers to incorporate film into the classroom. Learning will be enhanced through extracurricular experiences, including year-round field trips to Ragtag Cinema for film screenings and a free film screening and filmmaker Q&A at the True/False Film Fest. Moreover, after the screening at True/False, a self-selected group of nearly 200 10th graders will enjoy an afternoon of media-related workshops where students can experiment with making their own projects. This year this day will be March 4.

“We’re thrilled about this partnership with Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia Public Schools Foundation,” said Allison Coffelt, education and outreach director for the True/False Film Fest. “Though the way we interact with media is constantly in flux, we know this: students must be equipped with the critical thinking tools to thoughtfully engage with the ever-changing landscape before them.”

Over the course of three years, the program will transition into a self-sustaining program fully supported by the Columbia Public Schools.

“Columbia Public Schools is extremely grateful for CPSF’s generous sponsorship of the new Ragtag Film Society Media Literacy Initiative grant,” said Nick Kremer, CPS coordinator of English language arts and social studies. “It will promote exciting enrichment opportunities for CPS students, such as the ability to attend community cinematic events, like the True/False Film Fest, that many could not participate in otherwise by their own private means. It will also open up access to new cinematic resources — such as film rights, interviews with directors, etc. — to CPS teachers for use in their classrooms and provide professional development training to help teachers learn how to better instruct students in the skills needed to analyze and create multimodal texts like those found commonly in professional and everyday life in the 21st century.”

The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is a private foundation established by community volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of public education through community giving. The Foundation has funded projects in every school, allocating more than $1 million to enhance education in the Columbia Public Schools.

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