October 27, 2013

Stanislaus schools group salutes business partners

Stanislaus Partners in Education took time Thursday to acknowledge the people, the services and the dollars more than 400 businesses in the county provide to help schools. It also gave a tip of the hat to two longtime educators with the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

Stanislaus Partners in Education applauded the more than 400 businesses helping local schools and gave a tip of the hat to two longtime educators with the Stanislaus County Office of Education last week.

At the noontime event Thursday, leaders from dozens of schools listed a wide array of services, people and dollars offered by their community partners. Among those honored for aiding multiple schools was Cost Less Foods, providing food and funds to a number of campuses in Ceres; the Waterford Lions Club, for volunteers and scholarships; and E.&J. Gallo Winery, providing mentors.

Support to individual schools ranged from veterinary services for FFA animals to dance lessons. Expert help with a school garden, flu shot clinics, tutoring, cookie making and reading with kids were among the gifts of time. Job-shadowing opportunities for students, plant tours and guest speakers helped link schoolwork and job skills.

Then there was the stuff, from flu shots, bikes, books and backpacks to the extras, such as banners and snacks –a seemingly endless list of extras for needy kids and bare-cupboard schools.

The countywide nonprofit that helps arrange the pairings also:

• Gave 19 $500 career grants last year, serving – by their count – 3,760 students
• Gave 45 $200 grants for school incentives, helping 4,877 students
• Offers a list of presenters for career day and class presentations
• Matched 30 teachers with industry internships in related fields

Stanislaus Partners in Education surprised county Superintendent Tom Changnon with its President’s Award, only the second such award granted in the association’s 22-year history, said President Kristi Marsella.

“He is uniquely positioned to make a big difference in this county,” Marsella said, citing campaigns he spearheaded to raise attendance, improve fitness and promote civility. Innovative schools for at-risk students teach arts, professional cooking skills and military discipline, she noted. “Stanislaus County has become of of the most progressive counties in the state,” Marsella said.

Also honored Thursday was Cindy Young, head of vocational programs for the county office, who received the Peter Johansen Award. Young said she got her first job 33years ago with shorthand skills learned in a vocational class.

“I was that ROP kid. Back then it was shorthand. Now it’s robotics. That’s why it’s so important we stay on the cutting edge for our students,” Young said.

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