Partners In Education began as a community effort in 2006 to address the high dropout rate, the insufficient resources within our schools and the need of businesses and industries to have a well-qualified pool of local applicants for employment. One of the most important ideas that came from this partnership of the school district, Chamber of Commerce and Community Education representatives was having one person who could connect all the partners in an ongoing effort to make the most of business and industry resources to meet students’ needs.
Partners In Education is the proud recipient of the 2011 Governor’s Award for Group Volunteer Service. PIE has also been recognized by the United Way and the Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Partners In Education has depended upon grants and local charities for support of the program since it began in 2006. The organization received its 501(c)3 designation in 2012 and continues exploring grant opportunities in order to be less dependent on local groups for full funding. While we work to achieve this goal, the Partners In Education board members wish to continue the growth of the program along with the outstanding results of having volunteers tutor and mentor in our schools. We would like to increase our revenue to be able to expand our program so that we can assist more students who are at risk for dropping out or not meeting their potential. Our goal is for all students to be college and career ready when they complete high school.
One of the biggest challenges is making the connections with local business and the Director must continually develop relationships which lead to partnerships. In addition to the employees of the partner organizations, many individuals have volunteered as tutor-mentors. Scheduling, matching volunteers with student needs, and informing volunteers and staff of changes and challenges is a time-consuming task. If these individual and partner relationships are not nurtured and developed they will not continue to benefit our students.
I was born in Winchester, moved to Lexington at a young age, returning about 25 years ago. It is obvious that Clark County has a tremendous number of volunteers working diligently in many areas, there remains a need for more volunteers, and the need seems to grow each year. I was taught at a young age that while we need to take care of ourselves, everyone should do something to help others. I have volunteered with a few other organizations over the years, and currently serve as Board Chair of Partners in Education.
I have worked in hospitals for over 35 years, currently serving as a department head the past 10 years at Clark Regional Medical Center, in Materials Management and Purchasing. Most people in healthcare related fields are there because of a desire to serve others. I became a Partners in Education (PIE) volunteer in 2009, mentoring at Strode Station Elementary. I am very appreciative that the leadership at CRMC has allowed me to continue this now for over 6 years and even more grateful that the hospital has in turn partnered with Strode Station, allowing several other employees to help with afterschool tutoring as well as mentoring during the school day.
Partners in Education has two related roles; seeking out and matching volunteers with education needs, and matching schools with businesses, who can in turn support their “partner” with volunteers and/or financial help. We also work with Kiwanis, providing administrative support for their BUG (Bringing Up Grades) program, rewarding students for improvement. BUG is a wonderful program and Kiwanis should be proud of the work they are doing in this area.
Well into his second year as Director, Greg Yates has helped PIE gain official not-for-profit status, has brought on new business partners, while coordinating individual tutors, and working with the board to sustain PIE and to grow. PIE is not trying to be the biggest agency, nor are we trying to compete with other agencies; the needs are too great. We are simply trying to help Clark County improve student retention, improve student grades, and thereby improve the community, one child at a time.
Obtaining the trust of the business community requires relationship building. Our Director attends all Chamber of Commerce functions in order to network with these business leaders thus slowly building these relationships. Our Director also attended Leadership Winchester in his first year which broadened his knowledge of the community and is involved with this year's Leadership class.
This year we plan to find more ways to publicize the program through increased use of social media. We have increased our fan base on Facebook by over 500% in the last two years.
During our Director's third year on the job, our fundraising efforts through the GoodGiving Challenge remained the same but we gained a new Corporate sponsor. We also obtained a grant from a local foundation which allowed us to help elementary schools purchase books for disadvantaged students. Our funding will allow both our Director and Assistant to maintain our work hours this year. Our networking opportunities continue to build relationships.
We are all aware that Kentucky has consistently been among the lowest ranked states in education. The School/Business Partnership began in 2006 when the Winchester/Clark County Chamber of Commerce joined with the Clark County Board of Education to address the high dropout rate. The Partnership developed and obtained grant funds tor the Partners In Education program. Our local dropout rate has decreased from being the 3rd highest in the state in 2003 at 8.05%, to less than 1% in 2015.
What is important and distinctive about PIE is the ability to take the message to our community that many of our students lack someone at home to be a role model and to help them understand the value of education, and to capitalize and coordinate the willingness of local organizations and individuals to help our students reach their potential.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The Partners in Education Volunteer Program’s major expense is the Director’s salary. Approximately eighty percent of his time is spent securing volunteers and business partners, and 20 percent of his time is spent on administering programs such as BUG, fundraising etc. With just 2 employees, it is difficult for us to totally separate program costs from administrative costs. But we are making a concentrated effort to determine cost for a few programs we are involved in.
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