DPS Volunteer Business Corps grows; Gardner White Furniture, Tapper’s Diamonds become first Platinum sponsors with $20,000 gift

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546

Kickoff event for interested businesses, organizations to be held 5 p.m. January 27 at Renaissance High School

Dozens of companies of varying sizes have committed to creating new partnerships, expanding existing ones or moving their existing partnerships under the new Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Business Corps, including PNC, Chase and Fifth Third banks, Office Depot, The Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel, Fox 2, Michigan State University, the Skillman Foundation, City Year Detroit, Brown Rehabilitation Management Inc., Rickshaw Detroit LLC, Powerlink Facilities Management Services and the Detroit Regional Chamber.

New Corps members Gardner White Furniture and Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry have committed $10,000 each as Platinum sponsors to bolster the Volunteer Business Corps, which is working to improve academic achievement and support the district’s rigorous five-year academic plan. The DPS Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D. program (Businesses/Organizations Optimizing Learning in Detroit) aims to create and support school partnerships throughout the district and ensure those partnerships are working to the maximum benefit of both schools and organizations.

A kickoff event for the B.O.L.D. program is scheduled for Thursday January 27, 2011, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive. Businesses and organizations will learn more about the program and how they can get involved.

About the program
The DPS Volunteer Business Corps Office will assist with all partnerships, and each partnership will be unique because it will be designed by the partner in conjunction with the school’s principal or designee. Together, schools and their partners will develop programs that will specifically address each school’s academic needs. For example, Fox 2 will be paired with Communication and Media Arts High School, which is getting its fledgling broadcast curriculum off the ground, and Barnstormers, an aviation services company, will be paired with Davis Aerospace High School, where students learn to fly airplanes.

Volunteers inside school buildings will be required to submit to background checks and to participate in training before they begin volunteering. Principals will receive professional development on the management of partnerships this week.

Businesses and organizations that sign up will be required to participate in a one-day school service project and an annual partner recognition event and to provide two of the following:

Provide tutors who focus on reading, writing, math, social studies and/or science for no more than five students per session.
Required contact time minimum is 12 hours per student, per semester.
The structure can be tailored to fit school and company needs, example: one person offering one hour of tutoring for 12 weeks or two hours every other week, etc.

Education to Life:
Provide job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships or employment opportunities for students.
Guide students toward future careers through exposure to the organization’s specialty.
Assist students in gaining knowledge about the job-search process, the interview process, college application and scholarship seeking, employment skills and resume writing.
Opportunities can include using extra-curricular activities that will enhance academic achievement, including experiences that can connect students to collegiate opportunities or career experiences

Provide weekly one-on-one mentoring of a student.

School Beautification/Facility Improvement:
Coordinate projects to improve the learning environment twice a semester. Projects could include remodeling of a classroom, implementing a sustainability/greening project, sponsoring or facilitating environmental education projects, school building or classroom repairs and school grounds upkeep.
Organizations may also become financial sponsors of the program without participating. Contributions will go toward administrative costs of the program and supporting special events.

To sign up or to learn more, call (313) 870-3799, email businesscorps@detroitk12.org or visit http://detroitk12.org/businesscorps.

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