The Firstmark Foundation Pledges $40,000 to CAST Schools Network


Marisa Pérez-Díaz | Firstmark Credit Union | [email protected]
CAST Schools Network

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (April 4, 2023) – The Firstmark Foundation is pleased to announce its grant award of $40,000 to the CAST Schools Network in support of their Teacher Residency Program. This is the second grant the Firstmark Foundation has awarded CAST Schools.

The program, which focuses on teacher recruitment and retention, provides a network of support, coaching, and mentorship as aspiring educators work to obtain their teaching certificate. The program also offers hands-on experience in a real classroom setting that extends beyond the traditional certification programs.

“We are honored and privileged to partner with CAST Schools on our collective mission to provide teachers the stream of resources they need for a positive experience at the early stages of their careers,” said Marisa Pérez-Díaz, executive director of the Firstmark Foundation. “The program’s goal to create sustainability within the education system and overall support of teachers is something to truly marvel at, and we’re excited to witness it all come to fruition.”

Designed to create a supportive environment, the program’s residency model helps provide a positive learning experience for future educators. The grant will support additional recruitment into the program with Texas A&M-San Antonio, while also measuring the costs of other successful residency programs, and the financial resources needed to align with them.

“Attracting, retaining, and supporting teachers is essential to having a successful school,” said Jeanne Russell, executive director of CAST Schools. “The first few years of teaching are the make-or-break period for new teachers. We are committed to encouraging teachers as they enter the field and making their experience a positive and joyful one so that they stay.”

ABOUT The Firstmark Foundation

The FIRSTMARK FOUNDATION is a non-profit, public charity focused on making a tangible, positive impact in the education community through the collective giving of the membership. Firstmark Credit Union offers the Power of the Dollar® Checking that includes a $1 monthly impact fee that goes directly to the Firstmark Foundation. On behalf of the members of Firstmark, the Foundation will fund significant needs across our school districts, such as constructing new facilities, improving existing amenities, enhancing learning spaces, and providing education grants and student scholarships. Founded on the philosophy of people helping people, ten teachers made the best use of their resources, established a credit union to serve educators, and 90 years later, Firstmark continues to build upon their legacy, supporting the vital work of our schools.

ABOUT The CAST Schools Network

The Centers for Applied Science & Technology (CAST) is a San Antonio-based network of tuition-free, public schools with a mission to reinvent schooling in order to maximize options for students while preparing them for college, career, and life. Open to all Bexar County students, the network includes high schools CAST Tech, CAST Teach, CAST STEM, CAST Med, CAST Lead and the Advanced Learning Academy. Schools are co-created with industry, and partner with area public school districts, including Northside, San Antonio, Southwest, and East Central ISDs. For more information, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.