2016 In Review... and a special message from Tracey



The past year was one of incredible victories, challenges, learnings, and encouragement.  Take a look at what 2016 looked like for School Connect and be sure to read the special message from Tracey Beal, Executive Director of School Connect.


January 2016

  • School Connect trains 42 principals from the Peoria Unified School District on how to develop partnerships.


February 2016

  • LOVE OUR SCHOOLS DAY DEBRIEF – 14 pastors, 40 schools and 11 school districts agree to expand LOSD 2016

  • School Connect partners with the Washington Elementary School District to host its second CAFÉ evening – (Community and Family Engagement Night)

  • All 32 schools of the Washington Elementary District now have community partnerships!

  • Knock Out Hunger Food Drive - School Connect partners with the Washington School District, ASU, churches and businesses to Knock Out Hunger with St. Mary’s Food Bank

  • WESD Superintendent Paul Stanton and Pure Heart Lead Pastor Dan Steffen Sumo Wrestle on the news in support of the Knock Out Hunger Food Drive.


April 2016

  • Community Service Day: Non-profits, churches, businesses, colleges and schools work together to make their community better

  • 76 Pastors Gather to Plan Love Our Schools Day 2016!

  • School Connect receives a Washington District Award for service to schools during the 2015 Business Advisory Team gathering

  • School Connect presents at the Pinnacle Forum National Conference

  • School Connect graduates from a 2-year Learning Community with the Leadership Network


May 2016

  • School Connect presents at the Holistic International Missions Conference

  • School Connect meets with superintendents in preparation for Love Our Schools Day

  • School Connect participates in nationwide City Movement Leadership Gathering

  • School Connect wins Arizona Education Association Award for service to Palo Verde Middle School


June 2016

  • Christ Church of the Valley partners with School Connect to develop the School Connect Web App creating a collaborative platform for every school in Maricopa County to build projects with partners

  • School Connect presents at the Mayor’s Youth and Education Commission


July 2016

  • School Connect becomes an affiliate of Mission Create achieving non-profit status!

  • School Connect joins the Washington Elementary District and Glendale Community College in presenting the CAFÉ model to the National 21st Century After School Learning Grant Conference


August 2016

  • School Connect works in collaboration with the Global Leadership Summit to connect pastors to schools

  • Glendale Elementary, Pendergast Elementary and Dysart Principals join School Connect for training on Love Our Schools Day


September 2016

  • Madison Elementary & Deer Valley District Principals receive training for Love Our Schools Day

  • Pastors train for Love Our Schools Day

  • Know99 covers the story of Palo Verde Middle School playing their first soccer game on their new soccer field, developed through School Connect partnerships

  • Christ Church of the Valley hosts superintendents in preparation for Love Our Schools Day


October 2016

  • 10,000+ volunteers serve 265 schools in 30 school districts!

  • School Connect joins the Washington District in presenting the CAFÉ model to the AZ Department of Ed Mega Conference

  • School Connect presents at Movement Day 2016 in New York City


November 2016

  • School Connect receives award from the Deer Valley Unified School District Governing Board

  • School Connect supports the Cave Creek Unified School District in their first  CAFÉ event, “Mission to Inspire”


December 2016

  • School Connect supports the Pendergast School District in their first CAFÉ event



Greetings Friends of School Connect,

The 2016 School Connect calendar is full of hard fought challenges and joyfully celebrated victories as we have been blessed by a tremendous whirlwind of activity and growth. And yet, last summer I had an experience which crystalized the value and purpose of collaboratively investing in our communities. A beloved young math teacher in the Washington Elementary School District suddenly and tragically passed away last August. This young, thirty-four-year-old teacher had personally influenced students, co-workers and families throughout the district and his loss was written on their faces when they spoke of him. As I listened to superintendents, teachers and students share about Jonathon, it became clear that he was treasured by the entire community and they deeply struggled to cope with his passing.


Then Jonathon’s parents came to retrieve his body, and made the decision to bury him back home in the mid-west. Everyone understood this, and yet there was no local memorial service planned for the community to honor Jonathan’s memory. So, my broken-hearted friends came to me to ask for a service honoring their friend and mentor; they asked me to help the community grieve his loss together.


Besides being Executive Director of School Connect, I am also a pastor. As we have worked together, and hosted events and mentored students, we have become more than just co-workers and friends. We have shared victories and losses together. More than just people working towards common goals, we have become family. It was my privilege to honor their sorrow and be their pastor. It was a day I will never forget. Hundreds came to grieve his loss. In the midst of their pain, we were together. In the midst of their loss, the community grieved as one, and there was an indescribable sense of healing and respect.


When we think about educating kids we are tempted to think about 3rd grade reading levels and the percentage of high school students who reach graduation. Those things are important. We are working diligently to support and transform the educational prospects of our children. But community development and collaborative support are much more deeply imbedded in our relationships than just these statistics. Community is really about family; it is about neighborhoods and local businesses and churches coming together in ways that reach our living rooms. Community is about using our local resources to invest in each other. We start with the life of a child in a schoolyard, and step by step we affect families, and then neighborhoods, and then entire communities. This is the magic of School Connect. It is the reason we wrestle with schedules, events and funding. We invest to transform the lives of our children and the future of our communities.    

- Tracey


- Tracey Beal, Executive Director, School Connect