Lockheed named top school partner

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lockheed Martin has been named the Partners in Education 2008-2009 Partnership of the Year by Suffolk Public Schools.

This past week, the school system held its annual Partners-In-Education luncheon honoring the work of local businesses and community groups that volunteer with the schools.

Employees from Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation, located in the Harbour View area of North Suffolk, were partnered with students from Forest Glen Middle School. Throughout the school year, employees would volunteer to work with seventh-graders on their math assignments.

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“Our game plan was to try and help these students understand there is an importance to their math class, and there are real-life applications,” said Mike Mulleavey, communications manager for Lockheed Martin. “We want kids to stay focused on those STEM subjects (science, technology engineering, and math). Knowledge in those subjects is important for the students’ long-term career goals, because this is where we’re going to take our workforce from. It’s significant for our industry, but its vital for our country to have students to stay strong in STEM courses.”

Lockheed employees made the 30-minute commute to the school every week to work with the students one-on-one in an effort to engage them more with the material. The volunteers helped bring in workplace ideas to supplement the students’ math curriculum, and they also hosted the students for a tour of the Lockheed Martin facility.

Mulleavey said that volunteering in the local community is a major component of Lockheed Martin’s operations across the country. He added that being named Partnership of the Year is proof to Lockheed’s employees that they are doing the right thing.

“Locally, the center of innovation working for Suffolk Public Schools is just an example of what the corporation instills,” Mulleavey said.

“Across the corporation, (Lockheed Martin employees) have had as many as one million hours of service to valued partnerships. On our side, we’re thinking we’re not doing enough. These volunteers are coming forward and saying. ‘I want to participate in this.’ They’re motivated to make this thing happen. (The award) is a big reinforcement to what the corporation tries to instill in every employee and that is to give back to the community.”

Local Lockheed Martin employees volunteered more than 100 hours this year at Forest Glen, according to school system officials.

Also at the Partners-in-Education luncheon, Suffolk Public Schools staff named East

End Baptist Church (partnered with Booker T. Washington Elementary School), Suffolk Fire & Rescue/Station 10 (partnered with Nansemond Parkway Elementary School) and

SunTrust Bank (partnered with Lakeland High School) as “Star Partners” for their continued work and effort with their schools.

The school system has about 110 education partners, including businesses, nonprofit service organizations, churches and government and public safety offices, according to Dr. Lynn E. Cross, assistant superintendent for special projects.

“Every child is a star in Suffolk Public Schools, and together we do make them shine,” she said to the group that assembled for lunch Thursday at King’s Fork High School.

About half of the schools’ partners were represented at the luncheon. They were treated to entertainment on the piano by Elephants Fork Elementary School Assistant Principal Sid Neighbours and enjoyed a special lunch buffet created by KFHS’ cafeteria staff, while spending time with faculty from their partners schools.