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Chamber seeking business, community leaders for school partnerships

It’s that time of year again — time for a joint venture between the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and Clayton County Public Schools.

The chamber and school system are preparing for the annual “Principal Partner’s Day,” said Yulonda Beauford, president and CEO of the chamber.

The Chamber of Commerce will be accepting applications from business and community leaders interested in partnering with a local Clayton County public school through today, Aug. 19, she said. Interested participants who miss the deadline for registration are encouraged to call the chamber at (678) 610-4025 to find out whether openings are still available, she added.

“We still have...places available,” reassured Beauford.

She said participants such as business owners, managers, CEOs of businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applications can be obtained by calling the chamber or by sending an e-mail to dcarter@claytonchamber.org.

Priority will go to chamber members, she said, though non-members can register for the program.

School visits will take place on Sept. 29, from 7:30 a.m., to 11:30 a.m.

The program will give participants an understanding of the strengths and challenges of operating a public school, by shadowing the school’s principal for a day, she said. The participant will spend four hours as the school’s principal.

Participants will be involved in various activities, including meeting with the actual principal and his or her administrative staff, observing and participating in the principal’s daily routine, visiting classrooms and speaking to teachers and students.

The program will end with a luncheon, from noon, to 1:30 p.m., at The Morrow Center in Morrow, she added.

There will be a “Principal Partner’s Day Mixer,” on Aug. 30 for participants to meet their school principal, said Beauford.

The mixer will occur at 4:30 p.m., at S. Truett Cathy Professional Center in Jonesboro.

She said there are 63 schools in Clayton County, and she is hopeful a business or community leader will be placed in each school for the program.

“Last year we had 71 participants and we had duplicates for some schools,” said the president of the overwhelming response to the program.

Beauford said it is important for the business community to be interested in the school system. It is also vital for schools to learn about local businesses and what they need in today’s workforce, she said.

“Our goal is to start these relationships and continue these partnerships and best practices,” she added.

“It is critically important to be ...connected with the school system,” she said. “A successful school district has ripple effect of good things for a county.”

The program provides a stepping stone for the business community to form partnerships with local schools, in hopes that the partnerships will continue on, she said.

Beauford said the business community can continue school partnerships in various ways, such as being mentors and providing internships and resources.

This is the program’s first year to have a presenting sponsor—ING, a provider of retirement and insurance products and services, said Beauford.

The program was recently recognized with a Golden Achievement Award certificate from the National Scholastic Press Association.