Pioneer Bank & Trust, F.L. Clarkson Foundation make 5-year pledge in support of Spearfish Foundation for Public Education

From left are pictured Mary Pochop, Spearfish Foundation for Public Education; Tom Deis, senior vice president-manager, Pioneer Bank and Trust; and Mary Buchholz and Ferman Clarkson of the F.L. Clarkson Family Foundation. Pioneer Bank & Trust, Dylan and Nicki Clarkson, and the F.L. Clarkson Foundation made a five-year commitment to the Spearfish Foundation for Public Education (SFPE) to help their fundraising efforts. Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — Pioneer Bank & Trust, Dylan and Nicki Clarkson, and the F.L. Clarkson Foundation have made a five-year commitment to the Spearfish Foundation for Public Education (SFPE) to help their fundraising efforts.

The SFPE promotes financial and community investment in academic programs within the Spearfish School District. It was chartered as a result of budget cuts in the Spearfish School District and aims to unite the community and schools through financial investment. 

“As a local business it’s imperative that we get involved and give back to the community, and a great way to do that is to help area children,” said Dylan Clarkson, president and CEO of Pioneer Bank & Trust. “On behalf of my wife, Nicki, and myself, the Clarkson Foundation, and everyone at Pioneer Bank & Trust, we share the same goals as the SFPE and we wanted to invest in the success of the children of Spearfish. Investing in our children is investing in our future.”

Every year, SFPE and its supporters make investments of time, money, and energy – all aimed at strengthening the community’s schools, its students and its future. The thousands of dollars (over $99,000 raised and allocated in the schools in 2018) and hours committed to these causes by their generous supporters allow SFPE to make an increasingly significant impact in every classroom and on every student in the Spearfish School District. 

The SFPE works closely with, but independently from, the Spearfish School District. The goal of this partnership is to allow businesses and citizens of the community to invest in the success of any and all of the classrooms and programs of the Spearfish Schools. The money raised is given as grants to teachers who put in place innovative projects in their classrooms and apply for funding, and the foundation supports dozens of co-curricular programs in each of the five schools in Spearfish

“We appreciate the continued support of Pioneer Bank & Trust and the FL Clarkson Family Foundation,” said SFPE Chair Mary Pochop. “Pioneer Bank, the Clarkson family, and their foundation have been great partners in this project, and we are grateful for their support now and for the coming years.” 

“Not only has the yearly Pioneer Bank & Trust’s, Partner in Education, sponsorship been of great assistance, but also the donation from the FL Clarkson Family Foundation as restricted funding for the After School Assistance Program (ASAP),” she added. ASAP continues to increase in need every year in the district. Due to the success of the program at Creekside Elementary, they have been able to expand to West Elementary for a fourth year with the support of the FL Clarkson Family Foundation’s yearly donation. This tutorial program serves students who need more time to learn basic reading and math skills. ASAP addresses the need for more student time on task by extending the school day for specific students who benefit from additional academic support. 

This grant covers the additional cost for the teachers and teaching staff to work after school twice a week with small groups of these students during the school year. The cost for this program is approximately $20,000 per year. 

“While the need for such a program is concerning, the result of the one-on-one time spent with these students has been very encouraging. Pioneer Bank’s help in covering this expense has been very beneficial for the students and teachers,” Pochop said.

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