Closing The Achievement Gap - Banner

 

Business

“When I compare our high schools to what I see when I'm traveling abroad, I am terrified for our workforce of tomorrow... In the international competition to have the biggest and best supply of knowledge workers,
America is falling behind...”

—Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft

Rationale

California's persistent achievement gap has created an urgent need to turn around low-performing schools and ensure all students achieve at high levels. It's not an issue that schools can or should handle in isolation; increasingly, businesses are stepping up to help. School-business partnerships have been flourishing for years. The original "adopt-a-school" concept, in which a business "adopts" an entire school or classroom and provides generous financial support and human resources on an ongoing basis, is still an important asset in many school communities. Other school-business partnerships have evolved into mutually beneficial partnerships. What is significant about the contributions of all successful school-businesses partnerships is their emphasis on helping students learn.

A partnership between a school and a business can prove beneficial to both partners. Partnerships offer business leaders and their employees an opportunity to contribute to their community as well as an inside look at today's schools, which in turn increases their knowledge, understanding, and advocacy for public education. Businesses also benefit from the partnership by promotion and expanded awareness of their products and services. Business representatives serve as role models for students and are poised to influence and ultimately train these students, who are the future workforce.

The presence of business representatives inside the school environment as well as in the community helps provide motivation and purpose to students as they perceive the connection between their curriculum and the real world. For example, the importance of math and English in various business affairs and activities and in real life applications teaches students to appreciate those subjects more. Businesses can provide guest lecturers and demonstrations in areas such as science that will make lessons more relevant to students' lives. Mentors from the business world may introduce students to different career choices and help students set goals for their future.

One of the most important investments a business can make is in its local school district. A school-business partnership can help drive the economic development of a region and promote healthy, stable communities.

Resources & Tools

California Partnership Academy
The academy model is a three-year program, grades 10–12, structured as a school-within-a-school. Academies incorporate integrated academic and career technical education, business partnerships, mentoring, and internships.

The Council for Corporate & School Partnerships
The Council works with educators and businesses to identify, create, recognize and support exemplary school-business partnerships that improve the student experience for all children in the K–12 system of education in the United States.

Daniels Fund, School Business Partnerships
In 2005, the Daniels Fund conducted extensive research to learn why some school–business partnerships are more effective than others. Their findings, tips for successful strategies, and tools are captured on this Web site.

Taking Center Stage, Act II: A Portal for Middle Grades Educators
School-business partnerships are discussed under Recommendation 12 of the California Department of Education's Taking Center Stage, Act II Web site.

To Get Involved

To get involved, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.