Communities across the nation have realized since the 1980s, an era of public school budget cuts, that foundations are needed to support the public schools. Michigan and California paved the way; some California public school foundations have raised millions of dollars for public education.
During the mid-1990s, Montgomery County slashed the school system’s budget. These budget cuts had an impact on the school system’s ability to maintain the high quality of public education that has been the hallmark of B-CC High School. In response to the effect of these cuts on Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, a group of staff, parents, alums, and concerned citizens representing all sectors of the community formed the Community Coalition for B-CC High School (CC-B-CC) which issued “A Call to Action” for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. After a year of intensive research, surveying, and conducting educational forums and a retreat, the group presented an initiative for retooling and re-engineering B-CC. This consensus initiative, “Stand Up For B-CC 2000“, established Three Pillars of Reform — Academic Excellence, Small School Experience, and Connecting with Community — that launched the B-CC High School Renaissance.
Initially, the community’s effort focused on school system resources. Soon there was recognition that sources from within the school system would be insufficient to meet the needs of B-CC High School with its diverse student population. For the school to maintain and enhance its rich academic tradition, additional resources, both financial and material, need to be found in the larger B-CC community: the surrounding business community, municipalities, parents and alumni. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Educational Foundation was incorporated in August 1995.
During its brief history, the Foundation has played a vital role in helping to ensure that all students at B-CC have the support they need to reach their academic potential, including a Capital Campaign that raised funds to bring the school’s technology into the 21st century, a technology-based Language Lab for teaching languages, a summer academy for at-risk entering freshmen and rising sophomores, an after-school academic support program (TAP – Time for Academic Progress) for students at all levels, a mentoring program (BRAG) for students who require additional help, a college access and success program, CollegeTracks, to help students most at risk of not getting to college, and other programs that directly support students and staff.