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Articles: Business Partnerships

Technology in the classroom opens up opportunities for students of all ages at San Juan Unified, which has a partnership with Target.
Orange County schools in Florida has more than 1,500 business partnerships, and all fulfill a school priority or need.
Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia as earned $55,000 from a partnership with CVS/Pharmacy.

The average family spends $669 on clothing, electronics and other back-to-school supplies before classes begin each year. And in recent years, more school districts have received a share of the profits.

Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD offered space to an energy research firm, a business that converts wastewater into electricity and the builders of a solar-powered boat.

Faced with a nearly 40 percent decrease in enrollment and a middle school at 33 percent capacity, Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD in upstate New York offered empty space to startup companies. 

Digital advertising in K12 schools is an avenue for districts to make extra money. But some parents and researchers say that ads do not belong in school hallways.

Students in two Arizona districts will soon share the hallways with digital screens that display promotions for local and national vendors. This technological incursion is furthering a national debate over whether this kind of marketing is appropriate for students.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.

Are you ready for another year of doing more with less?

This year, let’s flip this funding challenge into an approach that enables your school district to get a share of the shrinking financial resources. A key approach to winning grants is collaboration.

Why collaborate?

Collaboration is not new. We talk about it, we provide workshops on it and we practice it in our schools and classrooms.

Volunteers from the social networking company Tagged help set up classrooms in Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco this fall.

Most San Francisco students live a car ride away from Silicon Valley’s tech giants, but will never set foot inside any of those fabled corporate campuses. A new philanthropy initiative is pairing some of these companies with city schools to inspire students to pursue college and career pathways that may lead right back to some of those high-tech HQs.

Steve Green, maintenance supervisor at the New Albany-Floyd Consolidated School Corporation in Indiana, reviews a Grainger catalog looking for products to purchase online.

When Boles ISD needed a new science building in 2011 for its rapidly growing high school in rural Quinlan, Texas, district leaders realized they couldn’t afford to build the lab they wanted. Although the district, 35 miles east of Dallas, received a $410,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency, it wasn’t enough to build the project according to architects’ plans.

A step for districts going paperless is to stop accepting cash or paper checks from parents. Many school systems have had vendors set up secure online portals where parents can pay for AP courses, lunches and field trips, among other items.

Anoka-Hennepin district students in the seventh-grade technology education class.

In suburban Minneapolis, seventh graders will soon start building skills for local technical jobs that may be open to them when they finish school.

An AT&T employee volunteer, above left, helps a student in the Boys & Girls Clubs navigate a creative obstacle course to help motivate youth to be ready for successful transition into the upcoming school year.

Some of the world’s most powerful companies are increasing their influence in K12 education by funding programs that blend workforce development with public service. Corporate initiatives range from retail giant Target’s $1 billion plan to fund literacy programs to IBM’s high school STEM programs that aim to prepare the workers the company needs to fill its ranks.

Global defense company Raytheon has invested $100 million in education initiatives since 2005


The Aetna Foundation will provide more than $1.2 million in grants to provide health and wellness technology to disenfranchised and minority populations, including those in schools. Efforts include a K12 digital health curriculum that teaches diet and nutrition, exercise and disease prevention. Students can collaborate on projects using social media and access the curriculum digitally.

2nd floor hallway
After: The school’s second-floor hallway walls were taped off and painted with a color chosen by students during the School Makeover event.
Before: A classroom
After: The School Makeover participants painted the walls of the entire classroom, hand-painted and installed new locker doors and created art-inspired ceiling tiles.
Before: Gym
After: It took over 100 people to paint all of the high walls of the gymnasium to give it a new look and feel during the School Makeover event.
Before: Outside activity wall
After: Volunteers built a new activity wall in an open space on the playground to encourage outdoor play.
Before: Peace garden
After: The School Makeover team planted different types of flowers and trees, and built a new trellis to update a peace garden that students can visit during lunch or recess.

Students at Frazier International Magnet School of Chicago Public Schools were treated to a fresh-painted gymnasium, classrooms and hallways thanks to an event from School Makeover, a national charity team-building program for corporations and large organizations to make a difference in the communities where they do business. The program is organized by a corporate team-building company called Team Worx.

Scott Kinney is senior vice president of education partnerships at Discovery Education.

School district leaders must keep a diverse audience of teachers, principals, parents, local community leaders and other stakeholders informed of important district activities and learning initiatives.

Sometimes it can be a challenge for administrators to convey to a broad audience how a school district is transforming teaching and learning with educational technologies and digital content.

Teacher-turned-activist Sabrina Stevens is executive director of Integrity In Education.

In mid-January a new organization called Integrity In Education was launched with the goal of “exposing the corporate and profit-motivated influences working to control public education across the country.”

PreK students in Detroit Public Schools perform at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix through the PNC Bank ‘Grow Up Great’ Program.

The Council for Corporate & Schools Partnerships offers districts a how-to guide on forming alliances with business. Here are highlights from its step-by-step list:

In the Napa Valley Vintner’s Adopt-a-School program, Vineyard 29’s owner, Chuck McMinn, takes part in West Park Elementary School’s Jog-a-thon last October. Vineyard 29 sponsors each student in their runs.

Superintendent Barbara Nemko of the Napa County Office of Education in California approached the Napa Valley Vintners Association about a decade ago to see if its members would participate in an adopt-a-school program. The vintners, a logical partner as the region’s key employers, were receptive.

Winery owners and school principals arranged for employees to tutor elementary school students, organized field trips to wineries, and hosted wine-and-cheese receptions for teachers. “We left it up to them,” Nemko says. “That worked out pretty well over the years.”