The Lee's Summit R-7 School District believes each child can learn and that the community is an essential partner in the educational process. Partners In Education connects the business community to the classroom, providing interactive opportunities for students to see the relevance and application of the curriculum they are learning in the business world. A vital program in Lee's Summit since 1990, Partners In Education has grown to include more than 250 local businesses and organizations, impacting all 27 school sites.
Whether reading a book one-on-one with a reading buddy, teaching a classroom lesson on personal finance or analyzing the effectiveness to a problem-based project, our local business partners are making a significant difference in the academic lives of R-7 students.
School staff are encouraged to share grade-level expectations and curricular objectives with the building's business partners. Likewise, business partners are encouraged to consider how those curricular objectives are utilized in their business on a day-to-day basis. Then through collaboration, the school staff and business partners determine activities that incorporate the business partner resources to positively reinforce the curricular concepts being taught.
A specific example of a curricular connection at the secondary level is the Marketing Director at HyVee sharing spring party project parameters and budget information with Lee's Summit High School students, who then work in small groups in the marketing class to meet the project and budget guidelines within the time frame allotted. If the quality of the work exceeded the need of the business partner, the ideas are utilized in the store. . . and the students have played an active role in a 'real' marketing assignment.
At an elementary level, students in primary grades often work with a bank business partner on basic economic principles and math objectives. A curriculum-supporting activity might include kindergarten or first grade students traveling to the business on the 100th day of school where they are given the opportunity to count out 100 coins and then put them through the coin counting machine to determine their accuracy.
Regardless of the age of the student, infusing opportunities to witness the application of their curriculum in the 'real' world positively reinforces the concepts being taught and is very much value-added.
Preparing Students for Life
If you were to ask most high school seniors what their plans were post-graduation, many would answer one of two ways: either "I don't know," or "go to college." IF you asked those who responded with "go to college," what their field of college study would be, many would then reply "I don't know." Some self-awareness will only be attained through maturation, but our hope is that by providing students interactive opportunities with local businesses, they will discern some additional insight about their strengths, aptitudes and interests, thereby better preparing them for life after high school.
By involving the business community in the educational process, we believe the entire community benefits - our students by having additional professional resources to augment classroom learning, and our business partners by having the opportunity to home the skill sets of their future employees prior to them entering the workforce.