With a goal of guiding students from cradle to career, Partners in Education has set its annual kickoff for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Heritage Hall.
Open to the public, the night will introduce the organization’s goals and new ideas in a pep rally-type atmosphere to cheer on students, parents and the community to come together for the effort.
The event will feature award-winning dramatic performances by Ardmore High School students, performances by Plainview Public Schools’ cheerleaders and band, snacks and music.
A program of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, Partners in Education was designed to address a critical need in the community to raise educational outcomes and create a qualified workforce by working with area schools, administrators and other programs to help students succeed inside and outside the classroom.
Area businesses, education and community members met in April 2015 to voice concerns and, more importantly, form an action plan to move forward to help students reach success.
The StriveTogether organization was selected to assist in the design, development and implementation of the new partnership, with the specific goals in mind to engage the community, focus on eliminating locally defined disparities, develop a culture of continuous improvement and leverage existing assets.
“The biggest difference is, always in the past we’ve concentrated on educators and students,” Ardmore Chamber of Commerce President Mita Bates said. “This program begins and ends with our kids. ... It’s about seeing your child, our students be successful.”
Bates noted some of the difficulties teachers face inside the classroom and said one goal of the program is to serve as a support system for educators.
“Teachers need to know the only thing they can impact when that child walks in their classroom is their educational success,” Bates said. “We still know they’ve got some things because we know that child comes to school hungry. It’s hard to learn. We know that child hasn’t had any sleep. It’s hard to learn. So this kind of creates a support system that can provide some additional assets to help.
“I think that we have the teachers excited because our deal is, we’re here to help you. We’re here to support you. I’m not criticizing in any way, shape or form the job our teachers are doing because they are doing what they have been directed to do and they’re directed by state statutes. They’re doing the things they’re supposed to do.”
A main focus Tuesday evening will be to reach parents.
“Fifteen percent of parents in Ardmore didn’t graduate from high school,” Bates said. “We’re going to have to change those rules of engagement. You just have to turn it around, and there are some incredible resources out there.”
The kickoff will go into greater detail of each of the Partners in Education goals and will provide an opportunity for questions and concerns from the community.
“As we go up, we’ll just raise that bar a little higher, so that they’re never going to quit,” Bates said. “We’re very excited.”