Guest Blog Post: 29 Years of Teaching!

 In Excursion Grant Program, grantmaking, guest post, PVF News, Science Grants Program, Special Education Grant Program, Visiting Artist in the Classroom Program

Guest Post by Audrey Miles, Elementary School Teacher

PVF loves to hear from grantees, partner organizations, and teachers about their experiences. Read a guest blog from Audrey Miles, an elementary school teacher for over 29 years!

My name is Audrey Miles and I am retiring this year in June 2024 as an elementary school teacher having served 29 years. I have been an elementary school teacher at Anna Yates Elementary School for over nineteen years, a former teacher with West Contra Costa Unified School District for ten years, and a former West Contra Costa Board Trustee member from 2005-2009. 

I would like to thank the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation for this opportunity to share how this program has enriched my teaching and my students. I have been writing grant applications for the past seventeen years for Excursions, Science, Visiting Artists, Special Education Resources, and Afterschool Programs. 

The field trip excursion grants have provided real-world learning experiences for my students that they may not have had. As a teacher, I have always made it my top priority to seek ways for students to have enriching activities and experiences.

Guest Blog Post: 29 Years of Teaching!

We had many opportunities to study nutrition in the classroom. It was important to discuss how much we eat and what we eat. We had the opportunity to learn about portion size, and how varied meals eaten in moderation can give us all the nutrients our bodies need.

As a culmination of this learning project about nutrition, we had a field trip to the Emma Pusch Farm Park in San Jose, California. Philanthropic Ventures provided a science grant and an excursion grant. I shared this experience with two other classes to get hands-on experience and see where food is produced. As part of this experience, we milked a cow and made cheese, cooked food from each food group on the grill, and shared it with our families. These experiences helped students to make connections and helped them to solidify their academic learning.

In 2006-2007 I was the afterschool drama teacher and Philanthropic Ventures provided an afterschool grant for the Anna Yates Theatre and Drama Club. The students learned about the elements of theatre production, produced a play, and saw a live stage performance of “Newsies” with dinner in San Francisco. Many of my students come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and have never seen a Broadway play. To this day many of these students still remember that experience fondly. It also helped them to experience the arts and build creativity which is important for building and maintaining academic learning and social and emotional growth.


In the 2023-24 school year, I had an amazing experience and opportunity to use the Science Grant to take my transitional kindergartens to The California Academy of Science to see the dinosaurs exhibit. The Science grant we received this year allowed my Transitional Kindergarten students an opportunity to see the dinosaur bones exhibits, the rainforest, the planetarium, and the Natural History Museum. These were lifelong learning opportunities and experiences.

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