SPS says ‘thanks’ to partners

Published 11:07 pm Thursday, May 8, 2014

During Suffolk Public School’s annual Partners in Education Recognition Luncheon, at King’s Fork High School on Thursday, Sybill Bullock, Silvia Copeland Murphy, Sharika Perkins, Clarissa McAdoo, Mike Smith and Phyllis Harrison of the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, receive the 2013-2014 Partner of the Year award. The group was nominated by Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, whose principal is Andre Skinner, right.

During Suffolk Public School’s annual Partners in Education Recognition Luncheon, at King’s Fork High School on Thursday, Sybill Bullock, Silvia Copeland Murphy, Sharika Perkins, Clarissa McAdoo, Mike Smith and Phyllis Harrison of the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, receive the 2013-2014 Partner of the Year award. The group was nominated by Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, whose principal is Andre Skinner, right.

Suffolk Public Schools on Thursday honored the many business and groups that help it educate the city’s children, during its annual Partners in Education Recognition Luncheon.

The 2013-2014 event was held in the King’s Fork High School band room, where guests enjoyed a buffet-style lunch, official comments from Superintendent Deran Whitney and an awards presentation.

Cooperation between the schools and businesses and community groups has been increasing, Whitney said.

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“We also can identify you all as successful role models for our students to look up to,” he said.

The partnerships help increase students’ motivation to attend classes and “not just graduate, but graduate on time.”

They also give the partnering organizations insight into the school system’s strengths and weaknesses, according to Whitney, as well as allow schools to tap into valuable community resources.

“It also helps you by helping us to be better prepared for your workforce,” he said.

“We are not necessarily hearing that you are asking for the students that score 600 on the SOL (Standards of Learning) test,” but students who can get along with others, think for themselves and communicate effectively, Whitney said.

According to district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw during her welcome address, students and staff in Suffolk’s public schools are currently benefiting from 163 different partnerships.

The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, nominated for the award by Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, was named the 2013-2014 Partner of the Year.

In the partnership’s first year, the authority has been improving connections between Elephant’s Fork and families that live seven miles away in the Cypress Manor and Parker-Riddick public housing complexes.

The authority helped bring Elephant’s Fork teachers and families together in the neighborhood community center and encouraged other agencies to get involved in the outreach, including Suffolk Public Library, the Suffolk Literacy Council, Parks and Recreation and the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community.

Among the end results: Almost 25 additional Elephant’s Fork families now have library cards and access to books, about 20 parents learned about local adult and family literacy programs and 75 children took part in on-site educational activities.

Andre Skinner, principal of Elephant’s Fork, referred to the award as the “Best In Show.”

“Even as we are sitting here … we are still talking about more partnerships and how we can make our building better,” he said.

Two Star Partners were named: Walk in It Inc., at King’s Fork Middle School, and Junior Achievement, at Hillpoint Elementary School.

Special recognition was also given to 88 businesses or groups for partnering with more than one school, and 33 organizations that have started just this year.