The Marfa Education Foundation supports and enhances the work of the Marfa Independent School District, and is committed to facilitating enrichment projects and to augmenting the education of the District’s students.
Marfa Education Foundation has supported the FIRST Robotics Competition program at Marfa ISD for four years. The successes in teaching the fundamentals of, and inspiring interest in, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) have led to the expansion of Robotics into the junior high and grade school levels. In the spring of 2017 the Robohorns won the silver medal in a state-wide competition, showing the ability of our students to successfully compete with much larger robotics programs in city schools. In 2015, the Robohorns (the only team with a female captain, Eva Guevara) competed in the "FIRST" robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, after advancing against 47 other teams from across the country in the national championship. GO ROBOHORNS!!!
Marfa Live Arts
Marfa Live Arts is a performing arts nonprofit with a strong educational component. They collaborate with Marfa ISD, and teach several in-school arts programs that would otherwise not be available to Marfa youth, such as: One Act Plays, Playwriting, Monologues, Vocal/Theater Workshops, and La Banda Summer Camp. These workshops, along with other Marfa Live Arts programming throughout the year, provide an opportunity for students to interact with professional musicians, dancers, actors and writers. In addition to allowing for creative expression, other proven outcomes of these programs include increased self-confidence and improved critical thinking skills.
Early College High School
Early College High School is available to students in the ninth to twelfth grades. This program enables students to earn dual credit (both high school credit and college credit from UT Permian Basin). Students can take courses in English, History, Political Science, Music, Psychology, Sociology, Art, Math, Communications and Spanish. Students also visit the UTPB campus three times a year to learn their way around the campus and have face-to-face consultations with their professors. It’s a great program that really helps the kids to get a jump on their college education and to save on college tuition by entering college as a sophomore or junior.
After School Studio Art
After School Studio Art provides Marfa teens in grades 9 – 12 with an opportunity for independent study in the visual arts by offering dedicated studio space, art materials, and mentorship over a three-month period during after-school hours. The program is free of charge and is available to all students. An experienced teaching artist provides enthusiasm, motivation, and a supportive environment. The students thrive in this setting, gaining self-sufficiency, independent thinking skills, and discovery of their own creative voices. A group exhibition of their work is planned and installed at the end of each semester.
Playground Renovation Project
The Dersu Collective, led by Maryam Amiryani and Nick Terry, held an auction of local artists' work in spring 2017, raising $6000 to renovate the elementary school playground. An army of local volunteers joined together to level the playground, create better drainage, lay a new foundation, hang vibrantly colored shade sails, and expand areas for the sandbox and for climbing. A new vegetable garden and six shade trees are complemented by woven colored fabric decorating the chain link fence. The transformation was very impressive, and the youngsters love it.
KRTS Youth Media
Since 2012, Marfa Public Radio has run a radio storytelling intensive for students at Marfa ISD. KRTS Youth Media believes in empowering youth to tell the stories that they want to tell. In 2017, radio students met daily for an in-school radio broadcasting program. Youth Media student producers pitch, write, and produce their own radio stories for air on KRTS "West Texas Talk" and PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs. The students' voices are an integral part of Marfa Public Radio's identity as a station.
Teacher Grants are being awarded to each and every teacher that applies in the 2017-18 school year. Grants allow teachers an opportunity to expand their arsenal of tools, software or books, in order to start a new program within their class, or to supplement an existing one. Some recent examples of teacher grants include purchasing a Chinese novel by Ji-Li Jiang for the 6th graders to study; supporting the National Honor Society in the Marfa High School; and bringing virtual reality into the classroom.
Guided Reading is a method to improve literacy that allows all students to excel and learn, no matter what level of proficiency they have. The small-group reading instruction is designed to provide differentiated teaching, which helps children stay focused on their specific needs, thus accelerating their progress.