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Articles: Business Partnerships

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

Aetna

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.

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.”

It was a daunting project, seemingly impossible to fund with traditional municipal bonds, says Yonkers (N.Y.) Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio.

In 2010, a building condition study showed that his district needed $480 million for capital improvements to existing school buildings, while new schools needed to be built given an expected enrollment increase of 3,000 by 2020, for a total of $1.2 billion.

Growing numbers of school districts are entering into public-private partnerships (P3s) to accomplish energy efficiency improvements that will result in cost savings and improved environmental stewardship.

For instance, last year, the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) in California launched its Efficiency Financing Program to fund energy efficiency and water retrofits on local schools. Fifty-four school campuses, two local governments and a nonprofit hospital are currently participating in the program, which is backed by contractually guaranteed cost savings.

A student at the Beech Hill School in the Otis (Maine) School Department learns chemistry in a hands-on science lab over Skype.

Four students in Maine had the unique chance to study organisms on their shoreline this past year to help contribute research to a new chemical bond discovery that Vanderbilt University researchers made three years ago.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis observes students and educators participating in the Open Campus PA program.

This past school year has been a little less hectic for busy juniors and seniors at Hempfield High School, thanks to a new, unique online course-sharing initiative.

The Hempfield School District is in a suburban-rural community outside Lancaster, Pa., and is one of three local districts that have implemented Open Campus PA, a program that unites its high school with the nearby Penn Manor and Manheim Township districts’ high schools. The goal is to share teachers and selected online courses, allowing participating students to take online classes on their own time.

AT&T Aspire www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2631

Cisco Education csr.cisco.com/pages/education

Dell Youth Learning content.dell.com/us/en/corp/d/ corp-comm/powering-possible-learning.aspx

Intel K-12 Blueprint www.k12blueprint.com

Project Red www.projectred.org

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Austin, Texas

This foundation aims to improve the lives of children living in urban poverty nationwide by funding programs that focus on performance-driven education, college preparation and completion, quality school options and academic and after-school programs. The foundation has committed more than $650 million to global initiatives.

www.msdf.org

The Walton Family Foundation

Bentonville, Ark.

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