Imagine a town where learning is a priority for everyone; from children to grandparents, a place where learning is a core component of the town’s culture. A dedication of townspeople committed to raising families, growing business, embracing our natural landscape and continuously learning and developing. A place where the town bands together to give everyone opportunities to grow and capitalizes on its existing resources by bringing together key stakeholders to make a difference. The story began in 2008, when a group of school and community members including elected officials, representing each Cumberland Public School met to develop the District’s Strategic Plan. The fact that community and family support for children’s education is essential was evident. However, the more we talked about it, we realized that what was necessary went beyond traditional views about support and involved opportunities to learn throughout the community among all of our citizens. It also supported our best hopes and dreams for Cumberland’s children. This idea transcended organizational boundaries, yet it supported the educational development of the whole child, and the notion of building a TLC became a part of the District’s Strategic Plan.

On January 9, 2010 a broad cross section of over 100 Cumberland residents including parents, organization representatives, school representatives and elected officials spent a morning at the Blackstone River Theater imaging Cumberland as that town.

The initial objectives were to: create a culture of learning in Cumberland through strategic and focused efforts; capitalize on momentum of the community; leverage community resources; network stakeholders to improve partnerships and minimize redundancy of efforts currently occurring within the community.

Over the last few years, we have operationalized these ideas through a road race and health fair that has helped raise funds to support middle school sports, a documented area of need. There are many more ways that we can enrich educational experiences district-wide, through public-private partnerships and broad community engagement to enable the Cumberland Public School District to meet the educational needs of all youth. The Cumberland Education Foundation, a 501c3, was incorporated in January 2016 to meet those needs.