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Articles: Business Partnerships

Kathy Gomez is superintendent of Evergreen School District in San Jose, California.

One in 10 elementary school students who were “far off track” in reading and math in a 2012 study were able to meet on-track college readiness benchmarks by eighth grade.

EDUCATION—J. Francis Manning is district superintendent and CEO of Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Syracuse, New York.

In 2013, the Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES) brought hands-on learning to the next level by embedding some of its state-endorsed career and technical education (CTE) programs at local businesses.

James Sullivan is a director in the dispute advisory practice at Sikich LLP, and is the former inspector general for the Chicago Board of Education.

Even as school districts try to allocate more resources for the classroom, state and local financial struggles limit available funds and increase the pressure on districts to get more done with less. Still, at a time when financial responsibility should be paramount, misconduct remains far too common.

Atlanta’s film industry has in recent years boomed to third place behind Los Angeles and New York City, and incoming studios noted a major skills gap when looking for videographers, scene constructors, prop creators and costume designers. Leaders of Fulton County Schools in Georgia responded

Glenn E. Gustafson is chief financial officer and Jessica Reijgers is employee benefits manager for Colorado Springs District 11.

School districts have struggled for many years with the escalating cost of healthcare. Do you have to reduce benefits to be affordable? Do you have to shift costs between the district and the employee? Is there a better way? In Colorado Springs School District 11, we think we have found one.

Ritch Ramey is the RAMTEC coordinator at the Tri-Rivers Career Center.

Local companies told the Tri-Rivers Career Center, a voc-tech high school in Ohio, there weren’t enough skilled workers entering the trades, especially manufacturing. So the career center launched the Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative to help meet skilled labor needs.

Miami-Dade County’s BioTECH @ Richmond Heights—a conservation-biology-focused STEM high school that opened in 2014-15 with help from an $11 million federal grant—focuses on zoology, botany, genetics, ecology, chemistry and environmental sciences.

Procurement is only the latest big step Amazon has taken into education. Earlier this year, it launched an online clearinghouse for open-education resources. (Photo: Thinkstock.com/Antomanio)

Administrators, teachers and other school personnel have been ordering supplies from Amazon.com for years, but the e-tailing colossus has now jumped formally into the education procurement market. And some in the procurement business see benefits.

In most states the first employment contract for a superintendent is a three-year contract. All too often it becomes the last contract as well. Superintendents must realize that job security and longevity are tied to board relationships, and such relationships begin during the interview process. That’s when it is most important for the candidate to communicate his or her beliefs about the superintendent’s role as it relates to the role of the school board.

In many partnerships that bring businesses and schools together, a private or nonprofit third party serves as a bridge to the most successful collaborations.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) offers extracurricular STEM activities, including an international high school robotics competition, to more than 400,000 K12 students nationwide, with mostly school-based robotics or younger LEGO League teams in 86 countries.

Collaborations between businesses and districts run deeper than internships. Business representatives help districts create curriculum and train teachers. They also volunteer as coaches and mentors to help students gain college and career readiness skills.

Educators constantly face new challenges that often require resources that may be in short supply. But this round’s Districts of Distinction honorees show a surplus of exemplary creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills that are increasing student achievement and graduation rates and, most importantly, facilitating education.

Schools are the center of the community and when schools are transformed in positive ways, communities are transformed. The continued rise of poverty is not surprising when policies and practices that could contribute to eliminating poverty are not addressed well. The foundation of systematic oppression is rooted in practices that contribute to a system becoming self-perpetuating because the conditions are institutionalized and habits are formed that are not interrupted.

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. 

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