As the new year approaches, the Chamber’s Alachua County Education Compact continues to work collectively with our educational partners to build a bridge between the business community and our schools.  We celebrate our 2017 accomplishments in partnering with businesses in our community.

In 2017, the Alachua County Education Compact

  1. Worked with the Reggae Shack, to sponsor East Side High School’s At-Risk Student/Parent dinner. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Six.
  2. Worked with Karen Clarke, who served as Deputy Superintendent at the time, to identify local businesses that would support student participation in the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. We identified sponsors for more than 30 Alachua County Public School students. Eight teams, from J.J. Finley and Norton Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School, participated in the world championship. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy One.
  3. Sponsored a luncheon at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce for the five superintendent finalists. Also, 21 of 28 Compact Signers or member(s) of their organizations spent a half-day interviewing the superintendent finalists. These initiatives are supported by Compact Strategy Three.
  4. Worked with the Community Foundation of North Central Florida and Gift Certificates & More (GCM) to provide funding in support of the Early Learning Development and The Parent Academy training 112 staff members and gifting each staff member with a year’s subscription to GCM Plus. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Two.
  5. Participated in drafting the Director of Educational Equity’s position and participated on the interview panel. The Alachua County Public Schools invited ACEC to participate. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Two.
  6. Worked with Community Foundation of North Central Florida donated funds to reward our District Guidance Counselors achievement of a 12.1% increase in graduating seniors completing the Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Five.
  7. Worked with 4 Rivers Smokehouse provided meals for Eastside High Schools At Promise/ Risk dinners for students and their parents. Worked with Santa Fe College provided four-Asus Tablets for Guidance Counselors for Eastside High School. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Six.
  8. Worked with the United Way of North Central Florida to arrange over $22,000 in school supply donations (from Publix Supermarket) to the Compact, who gave it to over 700 students in the Alachua County Public Schools 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Six.
  9. Hosted the 2017 Career Discoveries Day which over 300-students and parents from middle/high school in attendance with over 40-vendors and breakout sessions leaders. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Five.

We look to rethink education in Alachua County in 2018 by introducing new programs like Youth Apprenticeship, Parental Workshop, Young Adult training, and Ed-U-Chat to our community. We ask our business community to continue to donate either their time, talent or treasure to a local school and help our teachers help our students towards the foundation skills they need to progress in this world.

In 2018, we will be working with our Compact Leadership Council to develop the Youth Apprenticeship program.  The Youth Apprenticeship program modeled after the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce where students involved in the Youth Apprentice Program take their normal high school programs and also travel to Trident Technical College two to three days per week where they enrolled in dual credit classes in a specific area. The Parental Workshop modeled after Orange County California Business Council.  Teaches parents how to navigate the education system, empowering parents to support their child from cradle to career, leading parents to become an advocate for their students, and engage parents in career pathway preparation. The young adult training program developed by local advocates, the business community, and our educational institutions will identify students who are in need of pathway opportunities to the career of their future.  Ed-U-Chat is a new community forum to lead discussions about education in our community.

2018, like any other year requires us to continue the progress of the Compact and working to ensure all students have an opportunity for upward mobility in life.  The long-term sustainability of our business community is currently residing in one of the three institutions in our community.  It is vital for the business community to get involved and join us as we work to ensure our students achieve success in the classroom and life.