What is the Partners in Education program?
The concept of Partners in Education is about bringing community and schools together to work for a better tomorrow. FISD welcomes interaction between the community and students. Children need to see people from their community taking an active role in education – as mentors, tutors, guest speakers, or helping out in the school. The partnership program is designed to strengthen a student’s knowledge of the outside world, to show students that volunteering keeps communities functioning, and to allow the businesses in this area to have first-hand knowledge of FISD. We also believe that the business partnership can strengthen ties in the community and build relationships between teachers, students, and volunteers. A business partners may gain an added benefit from being involved in our schools because teachers and parents will want to patron your business in return.
Who can be a partner with an FISD Campus?
Any business or service organization with a desire to make a difference in the lives of students is a potential partner and there are many levels of partnership. Some businesses that are currently active in FISD schools include a variety of industries such as banking, retail and the medical profession. A bank can operate a student savings account program, open up for field trips to teach children about banking or provide employees to assist with projects at the school. Medical and dental offices offer volunteers throughout the year but also come to the schools to provide education about fighting germs and cavities. Retail stores provide volunteers and may donate funds for special events that enhance curriculum. Service clubs and churches are extremely important in supplying volunteers to help with mentor programs and tutoring. The Bright Zone program sponsored by St. Philip’s Episcopal is an excellent example of community outreach. Volunteers working with the Bright Zone have mentored children, helped with the holiday angel drive, and been active in the summer reading program.
All volunteers are screened and must undergo a criminal background check through FISD. Once approved the volunteers work under the direction of principals and teachers at campuses.
How Many Volunteers Are Needed and How Often?
Every volunteer matters in FISD. If you have a small business with only a few employees – you can still be an effective partner. We welcome local, reputable businesses and organizations – large and small. As referenced above, activities for volunteers include a variety of programs. For instance at the elementary level the partnership can be very hands-on as employees come into the school to make copies, read to students or volunteer at a PTA fundraiser. At the secondary level – individual programs may have more specific needs. In many ways it can be what the school and the business partner decide to make of it. A meeting between our business partnership liaison, the principal and your company can custom design a program that works best for your employees and the school. A volunteer may be in the school weekly or a few times a semester. Each partnership is individualized to meet the needs in the school and best utilize what the business partner can offer.
How does my company find a school in need?
Jenna Benabe, the FISD community outreach liaison, will work with your business to arrange a partnership that works for you. Business partners sometimes work with more than one school. If you don’t feel like you can partner with a school, you might have employees sign up to speak to campuses through the FISD Speakers Bureau( link) or choose to serve on a district or campus committee (link). Some businesses might want to supply a mentor for the Independent Study Mentorship program at the high schools, a program where upperclassmen work with a mentor on a year-long project in a field of study they hope to pursue. FISD is always looking for professionals willing to work with these students. link to info on program Several service organizations are also active with mentoring programs. What FISD really needs is a company’s time, talent and energy. It is true that some businesses occasionally donate coupons or items to reward students for grades or attendance, but the business partnership program is more about in-school activities and relationships than about monetary donations.
How can I become a Partner?
If you think your business or service organization would like to partner with one or more FISD schools, please contact: