UDAEF supports more than 40 programs across four key areas of education (Arts, Literacy, STEM, Health and Wellness) that impact 16,000 students annually. Programs are designed to improve and enhance the quality of educational and cultural offerings for the students and broader community of the UDSD.
The rich and diverse performing arts activities supported by UDAEF provide students with the opportunity to discover and cultivate their talents and share music, theater, and dance with the greater Upper Darby community. Offerings include: MusicMan Academy, Camp, and Lesson Scholarships; Band & Orchestra Instruments; Summer Stage Scholarships; Arts on Stage; and more. These programs, which serve hundreds of children between the ages of 8 and 14, promote self-directed learning, sharpen critical and creative skills and also help students master other subjects, such as reading and math.
The UDSD K-2 Literacy Initiative is an educational program designed to enhance the reading abilities of students between Kindergarten and Second Grade. The initiative, which launched in all 11 district primary schools, incorporates a technologically integrated classroom curriculum, including smartboards, computers, tablets and new tech-savvy teaching methods. Technology is essential for making the components of the UDSD’s reading program effective for a wide array of students. UDAEF has contributed more than $250,000 to this multi-year initiative, our single-greatest financial commitment.
UDAEF directly funds projects, programs, and clubs in the STEM fields across grades K-12, including Robotics, Engineering, 24 Math, field trips, and scholarships. Recognized by Pennsylvania as an Education Improvement Organization, UDAEF supports STEM specifically through its cooperative program with the Upper Darby High School’s Robotics Team and Programming. Established in 2000, this joint venture supports the year-round FIRST Robotics team, which incorporates community service projects into challenging educational opportunities.
Health and Wellness
UDAEF supports a variety of classroom and after-school activities that promote wellness as well as safe spaces for play, physical fitness, and healthy recreation that help meet the needs of a broad cross-section of the District’s student population. Activities include: the annual Schoener 5K, Primos Special Education Playground, Autistic Classroom, Healthy Heartbeats, and RealCare Baby project. UDAEF also provides support via its innovative classroom grant program for social-emotional education in the buildings that serve 6,000 students grades K-5. Most recently, UDAEF awarded grants to elementary school classrooms to create sensory pathways for appropriate and productive behavior breaks, provide culturally diverse social-emotional books and materials, and promote the artists, scientists and other industry leaders reflecting the youth in our culturally diverse district.