Loudoun County Public School officials and the business community came together March 10 to celebrate partnerships that have aided student learning. Over 800 people filled the National Conference Center ballroom in Lansdowne to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments.
“In our young women and men who aspire to higher education or yearn to learn a trade, know that no book, no Aleksa, no Siri and no Google will match the mentorship provided by you, our business community leaders,” School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said in his opening remarks.
“Many of you can trace your education back to one of four Loudoun County high school serving the county in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Many others can trace your education to a school on the other side of the world. But somewhere along the lines, someone helped you and I believe that is why you are now members of the School-Business Partnership. You are paying it back,” he said.
Loudoun School-Business Partnership Executive Council Chair Michael Lo Presti said this year’s focus was on participation and seeking an audience beyond the classroom. Partnerships are aimed to present LCPS students with real world problems, future career experience and deeper engagement, he said.
“That’s what it’s about, taking our experiences … and telling a kid ‘here’s the reason why school matters,'” Lo Presti said. “It takes partnerships and it takes businesses.”
One program Lo Presti highlighted was Job for a Day, which allows students to shadow professionals in careers they’re interested in. The program has been expanded to transitional and special needs students in the past year.
“It’s a public school system so all kids should be included,” Lo Presti said.
Lo Presti also said he wants to see the partnership level taken to the next step and have businesses become increasingly visible in schools.
“That ability to get in front of a student, gives that student a view of the world that will change them and when you’re young, that makes a difference,” Lo Presti said. “So what we really need is businesses that can bring their varied and thoughtful experiences to demonstrate to students a future of productivity and contribution.”
K2M, Inc. was recognized for its student mentorship program with Evergreen Elementary School. K2M employees work to solidify student’s maths skills and show them how these skills could be applied.
Loudoun County Fire and Rescue was recognized for its partnership with the LCPS Head Start and the C.S. Monroe Technology Center. High school students at Monroe Tech got work-based learning and certifications and students in the Head Start program learned about smoke alarms, escape plans and the role of firefighters.
Loudoun Farmer Trading Cards won the Loudoun County Economic Development Council recognition at the event. The EDC partnered with LCPS Nutritional Services for the project. The second round of trading cars will be released at the beginning of baseball season.
The National Conference Center was recognized for its workplace learning environment project that places special education students in different jobs at the center. The program gives students transferrable workplace skills, National Conference Center Human Resources Manager Helen Kendall said.
Lastly, NOVA Parks was recognized for its partnership with Trailside Middle School for a geo-cache program along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. The caches are hidden along the trail and each is part of a research project on the solar system that was conducted by the students.
“Each partnership proves Loudoun County is not only a great place to live, but a great place to be educated,” Loudoun School-Business Partnership Council Vice Chair Donna Fortier said.
Shirley Bazdar won the J. Hamilton Lambert Exemplary Leadership in Education and Community Service Award.
The Loudoun campus of the Northern Virginia Community College won the Make a Difference Award. About 3,000 high school students are dual-enrolled at NOVA and have collectively saved $5.5 million in tuition costs, Provost Dr. Julie Leidig said.
Every spring, the school board forwards the names of exemplary business partners for the Virginia School Board Association Honor Roll. Morse recognized Developmental Connections, one of the organizations included in the VSBA 2016 Honor Roll.
David Herlihy won the Community Service Award for his work with Douglass School. The Claude Moore Foundation won the Legacy Award for longstanding service to the county and public school system.
In addition to Morse, Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin), Joy Maloney (Broad Run), Beth Huck (At Large), Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) of the school board attended. Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and supervisors Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) and Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and the legislative aide for Koran Saine’s (D-Sterling) were also in attendance.