Culture and Community
"We want business partners, not just donations"
Public schools are very dependent upon their community and business partners. Not just for money, but for support of development of their students.
Communities and business partners can help with the development of our students as they move out into the real world. Successful preparations for college, career, job employment and independence is a very large part of what a successful cooperative relationship between schools, the community and its business partners can achieve.
As someone who is very much a part of the PTA and SLT at my school, I have worked with the community and the business partners in development of workshops, seminars and focus groups that address the necessary needs of students, families and educators of our special needs students.
The previous school year, we increased our parents participation involvement into the PTA by hosting several community and business partners at these meetings. The creation of the workshops and informational sessions were developed in two-fold.
Our parents would receive much free and needed information on how to acquire certain National, State and Local services that are necessary for the academic and personal well-being of our students. Such information on at home "Speech Therapist Services", "Communication Devices", "Legal Guardianship", "housing" and much, much more is not only important to the families of our students, but to the agencies providing the information. Businesses, such as financial institutions, technology companies, health and nutrition companies attended our :"Family Fun Day", a day where families and students could have fun, but learn about important information they would not know of otherwise concerning the rights and services available for disabled students.
It also created a great way for the school to network within the business community and to have support not only financially, but educationally the programs for our students. For example, we established a internship with a very famous cooking school where our students who were interested would learn how to cook, not only for themselves, but even the possibility that some of them might want to have a career in the culinary industry.
We worked with a technology company to create a mentoring program in which our students learned about computers and their uses and what they could be used for. This supported our literacy program and students learned how to communicate using email programs, Skype and other communicative technology.
We also had a tour of company that makes clothing on Fifth Avenue and even our students were able to make some of these items on their own.
It gave our students and their families to see all the different choices there are in the world for their children. Business Partners are not just donations.
Successful schools like San Francisco Unified School District and ER Taylor who got funding and support from a business partner for the Healthy Start Program or the Gwinnett County Public School District and the Chamber of Commerce, in Atlanta, Georgia, where my brother and his family live who has a great program developed on getting businesses involved in supporting their schools.