Cedar Rapids Schools Thanks Business and Community Partners

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS,Iowa - The Cedar Rapids Community School District recognized businesses and organizations that partner with schools at a special event on Wednesday at the district's administration building on Edgewood Road Northwest. The program put a spotlight on the volunteerism of organizations in the schools. Honorees at the event were selected this year by school principals.

More than 35 businesses received a partnership recognition certificate. An additional 30 organizations received a special service to education honor.

"Throughout our schools, collaborations with local businesses and organizations provide extra support to both students and staff and enrich the learning environment," said Marcia Hughes Community Relations Supervisor. "Business partners volunteer in the classroom, help to coordinate large activities, and physically pitch in to help with school projects. In return, students and staff give back to the partner with special fine arts performances, art projects, and invitations to school programs. These partnerships are a win-win for everyone."

The program also highlighted Kennedy High School's Cougar Electric Car. Students created a fully functioning, state of the art, award winning electric car through the assistance of partners like Rockwell Collins, Toyota Financial Services, and Hall Bicycle Company.

"The best thing they can give us is their time," explained Taft Principal, Gary Hatfield. "We couldn't do a lot of the things we do in our schools without them. Thanking them, it's just the right thing to do and we feel great doing it."

Other community partners, like Big Brothers Big Sisters, offer tutors, mentors and another personal relationship for students.

"I think the schools recognize so much the value in additional people in the children's lives," said Linda Henecke with Big Brothers Big Sisters. "Someone extra to care about them and give them that one on one focus."

Superintendent Dr. Dave Benson and other school board members in attendance acknowledged the importance of these community partnerships at a time when school budgets keep shrinking.

"The kids get really practical experience in that connection," Dr. Benson said. "We're so appreciative of the adults they send to us and that role modeling from the community is extremely important."
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