The DeHavilland Blog

Monday, February 27, 2006

A great university/school district partnership

Businesses aren't the only community stakeholders that can/should contribute to education: many universities have strong K-12 education outreach programs, a fact highlighted in a February 22 article on Duke University's work with the Durham Public Schools (article here).

The first few paragraphs of the article:

Duke University is launching three initiatives this fall that will offer intensive Spanish-language training to Durham teachers, provide mentoring for veteran teachers to reduce turnover and allow students to earn free master's degrees in teaching if they'll teach in Durham Public Schools.

With a $925,000 price tag, the programs are the latest in a partnership between the university and the school system.

"It's always been a priority that Duke be engaged with the public schools in an effort to strengthen them," said John F. Burness, Duke's senior vice president for public affairs. "We have a really large number of people who live in Durham; therefore, the quality of education is very important because it affects our employees."

Duke established the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership in 1996 to improve the 12 neighborhoods closest to campus and to boost student achievement in the seven public schools in those neighborhoods. The relationship has helped finance health clinics in schools, sent Spanish-speaking tutors to several schools and created a mentoring program for first-year teachers.

"Duke has always been there for us," Superintendent Ann Denlinger said. "This will simply enhance the work we're already doing in the schools."

There are many other University/School partnerships out there - it'd be great to see them get more visibility, both to encourage additional partnerships like that or to serve as a model for businesses, just as Duke hopes their efforts do:
Burness said he sees Duke's work with the schools as leading by example. If other businesses see Duke's commitment to the public schools, perhaps they, too, will pitch in, he said.

Thanks to District Administration for flagging this in their daily email briefs!


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