Move Forward



Annual Report

Our Mission

To invest in our children’s future success through education for all students in the Carlsbad Unified School District by developing and funding impactful programs.

A Message From The Board Chair

It is hard to believe how different our lives look today compared to one year ago.

School and business closures caused disappointment and stress to loom in our community.

It wasn’t easy to talk to a high school senior about missed commemorative moments. Nor to console our community’s athletes, actors, and scientists whose weekly routines changed and much-anticipated competitions or performances were cancelled. Not to mention the difficulty in helping our elementary-aged students comprehend where their teacher and classmates went – while keeping them engaged in learning.

We get it. We know the impact caused by the school closures and the state’s lockdown measures.

To best preserve our mission, we worked swiftly and in alignment with the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) to adapt programs in Music, STEAM, and Innovation to online or socially distanced instruction and to secure these programs for when our students return to class.

This annual report celebrates all students, teachers, and families for enduring a tremendous shift. In it, we honor our student achievements, dedicated teachers, and supportive community for the collective adjustment.

Thank you for investing in a mission whose impact goes beyond school walls. Providing Carlsbad youth an excellent education is an investment in the bright future of our community.

Now navigate the year with us, starting with unprecedented growth and ending with unprecedented perseverance.

JR Phillips
Board Chair

The 2019-20 school year began with unprecedented achievement.

Click through the image slider to see highlights from first semester.

To start, the Carlsbad Unified School District was up against a significant funding gap between what California allocates per student and what is needed to keep critical and relevant academic programs safe from budget cuts.

California is the 9th lowest funded state in the US for per-student funding.

California Budget & Policy Center

Carlsbad Unified School District receives the least in per-student funding out of all 1unified school districts in San Diego.

San Diego County Office of Education

Carlsbad receives $2,866 less per student than San Diego Unified.

Ed-Date, Educational Data Partnership

Programs in music, STEAM, and innovation that are vital to an exceptional education and workforce readiness would not be possible without donor and private support through the Foundation.

Your support bridges the gap to supplement state funding.

In the 2019-20 school year, we were prepared to award more than $1 million in grants to support the exceptional public school education students receive in Carlsbad. This is aligned with the $1.18 million granted in 2018-19 and $1.14 million granted in 2017-18.

This support set our school year up for first-ever student successes.

Student Rohan Soni tells the story of how Supersonic Falcons, a robotics team at Aviara Oaks Middle School, qualified for the FIRST LEGO League Robotics World Championship – a feat Aviara Oaks Middle School had never accomplished.

Carlsbad On Robotics World Stage

After pushing through two tournaments, our team was overwhelmed and excited that we would go to the FIRST LEGO League World Championship.

We had prepared all year for the opportunity. In the fall, I began working with the LEGO-based CAD to design and build our robot from scratch, making sure that it was robust, compact, and easy to use. I then programmed some of the tasks our robot would perform in competition. 

To practice, our team created four identical versions of the robot using the CAD model I created and used these robots to test our programming.

Halfway through our preparation for Worlds, a pandemic struck, and we knew that Houston would be cancelled soon.

It was sad to not have the opportunity to compete, but also relieving because preparing for Worlds requires a lot of work.

Although serious world events prevented us from traveling to the championship, we all had quite an enjoyable experience.

Our movement upward transitioned to a movement forward on Friday, March 13, 2020, when schools closed.

The impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the state’s lockdown measures were felt deeply in our community.

Carlsbad Educational Foundation worked swiftly to implement an action plan to preserve the mission of our Foundation and secure programs in Music, STEAM, and Innovation for when students could return to class.


Read our stories to learn how we adapted.

Inspiring the Passion to Learn

Student Leadership Council

Capri Suarez, a junior at Sage Creek High School, struggled initially with being isolated from classmates because of distance learning. Her participation in the Student Leadership Council brought her the connection she needed.

“We went from meeting once a month to meeting once a week. This led me to become way closer to my peers and learn even more about leadership.”

Capri got to experience vital connection with classmates during weekly online meetings for the Student Leadership Council.

The community inspired her to help transition the council’s capstone project, Learning to Lead, into a video presentation. Her and classmates asked how community leaders from five industries in Carlsbad utilized leadership skills to transition their operations during Covid-19.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. Robotics

When schools closed, I was really bummed that the FIRST LEGO League Jr. camp I was teaching at Kelly Elementary was going to be cancelled. A couple weeks after the school closures, however, the Carlsbad Educational Foundation reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to teach a few camps remotely.

It was so much fun bringing students from different campuses together to virtually explore LEGO robotics. With the support of parents at home, the students met for ‘camp’ 2-3 times a week to complete hour-long lessons using WeDo software, LEGO kits, and group collaboration.

In a time where children really needed interaction, we were able to provide that in a fun and engaging way.

– Kaylin Peterson, 2nd Grade Teacher, Kelly Elementary

Providing a Safe Space for Families

The state’s lockdown measures and stay-at-home order didn’t apply to Katie Rosenquist, a nurse, and her husband PJ, also an essential worker.

When schools closed, the Rosenquists faced much uncertainty over how to support their two boys, students at Kelly Elementary, who suddenly didn’t have a safe space to learn while their parents worked.

Recognizing the need for childcare for parents working in the essential sector, our Foundation partnered with the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation to offer a full-day enrichment camp.

”This camp supported my husband, me, and our family during this crazy Covid time. Without this program, we wouldn’t have been able to maintain normalcy in our day-to-day life and give our boys some fun, stimulation, and a safe place to be.”

Offered every weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., our camp ensured small-group educational activities and, a myriad of outdoor experiences.

“We’re so thankful to all the wonderful teachers, supportive staff, and all the great activities. It makes it easy for me to come to work knowing my boys are safe and sound and in great care.”

Honoring Commemorative Moments

With graduation for the senior class approaching and no end to the pandemic in sight, we strived to honor student achievements and the collective adjustment to online classroom instruction.

Walk for Schools, a virtual event, compiled words of wisdom from leaders in our schools and community to commemorate every student’s academic journey.

Inspired by the walk students take at graduation, Walk for Schools is symbolic of the journey it takes to achieve a goal and the idea that you are moving forward to something new – a positive future.

Our community partners’ inspiring words helped commemorate milestones our students worked hard to achieve.

Preserving Our Impact

Our program investments declined in 2019-20, in comparison to previous years, because many programs our Foundation funds did not operate during the spring 2020 school closures.

Still, our total impact for the 2019-20 school year was an incredible $781, 271.02.

Weekly Music (Grades K-5) $136,630.83
Music Coaches & Specialists (Grades 6-12) $19,000.00
Music Equipment & Repairs (Grades 6-12) $9,307.26
Musical Instruments (Grades 9 -12) $7,499.79
Spring Musical, Sage Creek High (Grades 9 -12) $5,000.00
Music Mentorship Transportation (Grades 6 – 12) $1,368.67


FIRST LEGO League Robotics (Grades 4-8)


Science Olympiad (Grades 6-12)


FIRST LEGO League Jr. Robotics (Grade 2)


FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics (Grades 9-12) 


Science Teachers & Supplies (Grades 4-5)


Science Lab Assistant, Carlsbad High (Grades 9-12)


Academy for Environmental Stewardship (Grades 3 & 7)


Science Day Awards (Grades K-8)


Science Lab Supercharge (Grades 6-8)


Design Engineer, Magnolia Elementary (Grades K-5)


San Diego Children’s Museum (Grade 1)


Project Lead the Way, Calavera Middle and Sage Creek High (Grades 8 & 12)


Science in a Satchel (Grade 2)



International Baccalaureate, Jefferson Elementary (Grades K-5)


Innovation Coach (Grades 6-12)


Junior Achievement BizTown (Grade 5)


Student Leadership Council (Grades 9-12)


Innovation Teacher, Kelly Elementary (Grades K-5)


Junior Achievement Finance Park (Grade 12)


Rising Star (Grade 12)


Lux Art Valise Program (Grade XX)


Facility Fees to Carlsbad Unified School District $83,949.13
Coyote Cavern Productions, Calavera Hills $21,190.91
Coastal Community Foundation VAPA Mini Grants $18,223.38
Grocery Gifts $18,810.55
Senior College Scholarships $15,000.00
Tuition Assistance for Kids Care $9,149.90

Resilience, courage, and adaptability are qualities our students, teachers, and community embraced.

We are grateful – and inspired – by our supportive community, adaptive educators, and the bright, creative minds of our students. The youth among us are becoming prepared to solve challenges like the ones we’re currently addressing in our society.