Good partnerships

Published 10:07 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013

With public schools in Suffolk struggling for accreditation and fighting for funds, it’s important that they get every boost they can get from the community. Whether that help comes in the form of volunteers providing aid in the school office or PTAs collecting money for special equipment, Suffolk schools are fortunate for the help they receive in meeting their mission.

Of particular note is the partnership that Suffolk schools have with businesses around the city. That partnership has been highlighted during the past couple of weeks, as the system held its annual non-traditional career fair and as one major company with a Suffolk presence visited one of the city’s elementary schools to give students a look at science in action.

The non-traditional career fair is important, because it helps students recognize a world of opportunities they might otherwise have missed because of their preconceptions about certain careers being “right” for certain genders. With the military now approving front-line combat roles for women, it would seem that one of the final barriers to female parity in occupational opportunity has been removed.

Email newsletter signup

Considering that development, it was especially appropriate this year for a group of businesses to join with the school system in encouraging students to consider careers that might have been closed to them in the past.

Perhaps even more important, though, is the simple fact of the partnership. Through it, businesses are able to get to know and influence potential future employees, and the school system is able to take advantage of the vast knowledge and experience of successful business leaders from all over Hampton Roads.

Similarly, when two chemists from BASF visited Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School late last month to talk to children about the everyday applications of chemistry and the scientific method, they helped students make important connections between their education and their futures that are not always evident to youngsters. And a simple experiment with vinegar, water, baking soda, a plastic bottle and a balloon gave those kids an invaluable look at chemistry in action and may have laid a foundation for some of them one day to pursue careers in science.

Such business-school partnerships will be among the things that help Suffolk students and their schools become successful. It’s good that the school system encourages them.