The Business Education Partnership was developed by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce along with the six Superintendents of our local school districts and the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration in 2013. The purpose of this partnership is to serve as a forum for school and business leaders to hold honest, transparent conversations and to promote the meaningful and productive initiatives that schools provide to ensure student success. The partnership believes strong relationships between the business community and public education professionals are critical because they lead to an increased awareness of the opportunities that school districts provide for our young people’s future. Meetings offer an avenue to learn more about each school district, to hear about partnership opportunities with local schools, and to discuss key issues facing public education today.
The Business Education Partnership’s latest meeting was held on February 8, 2019 at Appoquinimink High School in the Appoquinimink School District. The Appoquinimink High School principal, Keisha Brinkley, presented information on the high school and introduced the Service Learning Program. Service Learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service. It challenges students to meet societal needs while developing a deeper understanding of real-life problems, as well as, skills and commitment needed to make a difference in the community. We heard highlights from three 2019 high school seniors on their projects that were implemented in the community.
The first project, titled “Stuff the Bus”, was about partnering with local businesses to set up donation sites for the community to donate items needed by kids and families that are having an extended stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Senior, Austin, who implemented the project, suffered from a near death illness when he was a child so he knows firsthand of the importance of having basic items while in a long-term hospital stay. Once all the donated items were collected from the local businesses, Austin had the items stuffed into a small bus and delivered directly to The Ronald McDonald House, where he could witness first hand the immediate help he affected in the community.
Karisma, another senior, presented on her passion for astronomy. As a young African-American girl who is on the math and science pathway at Appo High School and with plans to major in astrophysics in college, she teaches astronomy classes at Mount Cuba. She was recognized for her community service in being a positive role model in fields that are not typically filled with minorities, by being presented a NASA pin by State Senator, David Sokola.
The last project was presented by four very talented young women who put their talents together to host the first B+ Appothon. This was an all-night dance that raised money for the B+ foundation, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research, advocacy and financial assistance. The planning process for the event was extreme, from sponsorships, permission slips, food, games, etc. Their goal was to raise $16,000 during this all-night dance; however, they ended up just a few thousand short of that goal. The attendees at the Business Partnership event were stunned when William Allen from ALW Sourcing calculated the remainder that the girls needed to reach their goal and committed to donating the remainder. What a wonderful example of how businesses and educational institutions can work together to make a difference.
After learning about the senior projects, the Business Education Partnership attendees had the opportunity to hear from three businesses, M Davis, EDiS Construction and PM Hotel Group, that partner with our local school districts. With these partnerships, local organizations are vital in shaping the education system and making the curriculum relevant to what businesses need from their workforce. These businesses have apprenticeship programs that give students the opportunity to gain skills, abilities, and certifications. The businesses mentioned that they find these students are educated, engaged and ready to join the workforce upon graduation and most are offered positions within the companies.
The Business Education Partnership has shown examples of how strong relationships between the business community and public education professionals have worked to make initiatives that are meaningful and ensure student growth. If you are interested in learning more about The Business Education Partnership program, please contact the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce at 302-737-4343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.