More than 300 school and school division partners were recognized today at Chesterfield County Public Schools’ annual Business and Community Partners Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union. Bon Secours Health System, Amazon and the Chesterfield County faith community were chosen 2018 Partners of the Year for their contributions in support of the school division’s students, schools and families.
“Chesterfield County Public Schools benefits daily from partnerships with local businesses, faith organizations, civic associations and individuals,” School Board Chair John Erbach said. “Whether it is an in-kind contribution, financial support, volunteering in a school or some other form of support, our partners play a key role in helping prepare our students for success. We would not be the high-achieving school division that we are without their ongoing support, and we are extremely grateful to the Virginia Credit Union for supporting us in this recognition opportunity.”
Chesterfield County Public Schools’ 2018 Partner of the Year in Support of Schools is Bon Secours Health System, an organization committed to creating communities of health, hope and well-being. Bon Secours views partnerships as a shared agreement in which partners work in a coordinated way to address a community need that no single organization can sufficiently address.
Bon Secours is a community partner for Project SEARCH, a school-to-work employment program for students with significant disabilities. Students participating in the program have gained employment at St. Francis Medical Center in the departments of pharmacy, environmental services and patient transport.
More than 18 departments at St. Francis participate in the program where students complete three 10- to 12-week internships, allowing Chesterfield students the opportunity to be fully immersed into a work environment with nondisabled peers.
Bon Secours plays a vital role in the lives of Chesterfield County students by providing a safe and nurturing environment for our students to develop the job skills needed to have a productive future.
Chesterfield County Public Schools’ 2018 Partner of the Year for Schools is Amazon, an organization dedicated to giving back to the communities in which their employees work and live.
In the spring of 2017, Amazon surprised students at Ettrick Elementary with $7,500 worth of materials to help build a state-of-the-art STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) lab that provided hands-on learning opportunities for students. This past fall, Amazon donated $10,000 to Elizabeth Scott Elementary to create an interactive space where teachers from all classrooms can bring their students for hands-on experiences with STEAM-related tools.
Amazon also is a supporter of the Champions Program hosted by the CHAMPS committee of the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber education program helps to achieve meaningful partnerships in schools. Amazon recently provided binders and other school supplies to the more than 120 students taking part in the program.
Throughout the country, Amazon’s contributions can be seen in many ways, whether through employee-run toy drives or employees volunteering with local nonprofits. Amazon believes in its communities, and through its support is improving the lives of our students.
Chesterfield County Public Schools’ 2018 Partner of the Year for Families is the local faith-based community, which provides vital support to Chesterfield County youth both in and outside of the school setting.
Within Chesterfield County schools, the faith-based community serves a variety of needs: From after-school safe spaces to backpack food and summer feeding programs, from volunteer-mentor programs to Reading Buddies, and from tutoring assistance to school supply drives, our faith-based partners are involved in a variety of ways that support students’ academic and social emotional needs.
Faith-based partnerships promote collaboration and are vital in sharing communications and resources with our other community groups and parents. These partners work collaboratively with other congregations and community members to provide community center-based opportunities such as tutoring programs, after-school enrichment opportunities and parenting or academic classes for adults.
The faith community is involved in a variety of school division-level initiatives, too. Faith leaders meeting quarterly with the School Board and Superintendent and receive updates and provide input on critical matters facing the school division and community. Members of the faith-based community served on Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Equity Committee. The Equity Committee was comprised of more than 75 community members and released a report with more than 100 recommendations to support an increasingly diverse learning community.
The faith community has been a constant presence for Chesterfield County Public Schools’ families for a number of years. The impact on families has been immeasurable.
“Strong partnerships are an integral component to any school division’s success,” Superintendent Dr. James Lane said. “We are fortunate to have hundreds of partners willing to stand beside us and invest in our work to provide every child with a chance to succeed.”