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In any community, the interaction between local businesses and employers and the school district, can have a significant impact on both the employers and the students. In a cost-sharing arrangement with the Head Start Program, the district received a pledge from the area's largest employer, Pilgrim's Pride, for $1 million to help build the Child Development Center (CDC). These funds are being paid in the amount of $100,000 per year for ten years. This financial relationship with Pilgrim's Pride was crucial in funding the CDC.
The district implemented the Junior Achievement program in the schools last year. Under this program, local business people come into schools to teach a one-hour civics class each week for 12 weeks.
The number and type of collaborative partnerships in MPISD is shown in Exhibit 3-10.
Exhibit 3-10Source: MPISD Schools 97-98
MPISD Business Partnerships
School/Department Business/Organization Activity Mt. Pleasant High School Mt. Pleasant Junior Auxiliary Works on Project Graduation Wallace Middle School Super 1 Food Store Adopted the school and provides incentives for student achievement Corprew Intermediate School Super 1 Food Store Adopted the school, provides food for school activities Brice Elementary School Super 1 Food Store Adopted the school, provides food for school activities Fowler Elementary School Brookshires Food Store Adopted the school, provides food for school activities Sims Elementary School MP Junior Auxiliary Work with second grade students needing special assistance Sims Elementary School Pilgrim's Pride Provides facilities, supplemental funds for supplies, refreshments, workshops for parents Sims Elementary School McDonalds Provides paper products, coupons for school programs Sims Elementary School Hershell's Restaurant Provides paper products, coupons for school programs Sims Elementary School Super 1 Food Store Provides paper products, coupons for school programs Sims Elementary School Lil Abner's Dry Cleaners Cleans all lost and found coats and jackets and stores them for future use Sims Elementary School Lion's Club Assists students who need glasses Sims Elementary School Brookshires Food Store Provides students incentives for achievement Adult Education Center Northeast Texas Community College Contract to provide teachers for certain classes
Segments of the Mt. Pleasant business community are actively supporting MPISD.
The large number of business partnerships with MPISD schools demonstrates there is a willingness within the business community to work with the district. However, there is not an organized and structured plan to involve local businesses in proactive relationships with the schools and students.
Based on interviews conducted by the review team, the primary, ongoing business partnerships are with the two local grocery store chains and the high school career and technology education program that allows the students to get out of school early to go to work. The only business people who attended focus group sessions on business partnerships were the managers of the grocery stores and the Junior Achievement Director.
The best use of a business partnership is one where employers work with the district to identify the types of jobs that will be available for graduates. The district then develops classes, either through the vocational or regular instruction curriculum, to begin training students for future employment. Partnerships that provide intern opportunities, summer jobs, and tours of the employer's business typically have the biggest impact on students.
Business partnerships are an excellent way to leverage limited resources and build trust and confidence in the district. A good collaborative partnership program could include building relationships with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood-based civic associations. For example, McManagement is a collaboration with McDonald's Corporation, in which McDonald's trains students in restaurant management skills. Local chambers of commerce also can facilitate matching employers with the district's career and technology programs to address the needs of non-college bound students.
At Spring ISD, Spring High School has a program called BLAST (Business Leaders Assisting Spring Teens) that uses a group of business leaders recruited and trained by the school to provide individual weekly support and role models for at-risk students. One of the elementary schools has developed a school-neighborhood partnership. The school and neighborhood association plan activities to bring the community and school closer together.
Also at Spring ISD, three nonprofit organizations, the Shriners, Masons, and Northwest Assistance Ministries provide support for the Teen Parent program. The day-care program and teen parents are provided with services and materials through these organizations. Other partnerships include YMCA after-school programs conducted at school sites, and outdoor learning centers. There are similar groups in the Mt. Pleasant area that could develop partnerships.
Develop a comprehensive and structured collaborative business partnership program.
The successful development of collaborative partnerships is a process that will take several years and will require input from every area of the community, particularly local employers, nonprofit organizations and civic associations.
While the district already has developed some areas of collaborative partnerships like the mentoring program, junior achievement, and the Pilgrim's Pride relationship, more can be accomplished by coordinating all efforts.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent and board discuss the goals and objectives of collaborative partnerships. April 1999 2. The board appoints a committee chaired by a public information officer and the parent involvement coordinator to develop ideas that can be incorporated in a collaborative partnership plan. May - June 1999 3. The committee contacts other districts that have successful collaborative partnership programs, like Spring ISD, Corpus Christi ISD and Port Arthur ISD. May - June 1999 4. The committee evaluates the programs of other districts and determines their applicability at MPISD. July 1999 5. The committee presents the plan to the board for review and approval. August 1999 6. The public information officer, parent involvement coordinator, and superintendent implement the plan at MPISD schools. September 1999 7. The public information officer and/or the parent involvement coordinator develop means to monitor and track participants. September 1999 8. The public information officer develops a periodic reporting and evaluation process. Ongoing
This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.