Community Support Boost Phoenix Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Phoenix Schools Get a Literary Lift
A laudable new initiative by community and business leaders is helping students in Phoenix schools to enhance math skills and hone reading abilities.  This community involvement is not restricted to single business or organization. Rather, Phoenix schools in recent years have benefited from partnerships with many business owners, community agencies, large corporations and small enterprises.  These companies and agencies boost learning efforts at Phoenix schools by offering valuable resources which include financial help, materials and their expertise to students. 
One local fast food franchise owner donates thousands of dollars worth of books to local Phoenix schools. Another distributes dictionaries to sixth graders.  Both of these are examples of the Readers are Leaders program, an initiative that helps business owners to contribute to educational efforts at Phoenix schools, and some other Arizona schools, and enhance their standing in the community.
Phoenix Schools Benefit from Increased Community Involvement
The Arizona Business and Education Coalition, formed 5 years ago to coordinate efforts by local officials and business leaders, is a perfect example of what can happen to the fortunes and prospects of a school when the community ceases to be a mute spectator and takes on a more pro active role.  The Coalition works to find a common ground that will influence public policy on educational matters in Phoenix schools and beyond.  It’s no secret that businesses benefit from the presence of great schools in their area of operations.  Constantly looking for skilled manpower to boost their bottom lines, they find a source of skilled personnel when the schools in the vicinity churn out high caliber students. 
When businesses get involved in educational efforts at Phoenix schools they find a ready supply of skilled entry level workers. Phoenix schools also save money and time preparing their students for such jobs.  The section with the most advantages in this arrangement is the student population.  They get access to better and increased resources, and are exposed to local businesses at an early age which helps them decide on career and future educational options. Thus, community involvement in Arizona schools has multi-pronged benefits.
This community involvement is taking many forms. Companies sometimes sponsor program in which university officials visit Phoenix schools to help discuss career options. Students sometimes visit universities for more extensive career fairs where they are exposed to the realities of a 21st century workforce and the skills that are needed to survive in a competitive global marketplace.
Education officials nationwide have long recommended greater community involvement as one of the catalysts that can bring about positive changes in schools.  Too often we notice the community being a passive spectator, only moved to action when school quality in their area drops to depths low enough to affect property prices in the region.  It’s heartening to see the local communities playing such an active participant role in improving Phoenix schools.