Schools, businesses partner with help from grant

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Kelly North and Allen Pitner from the Shelbyville Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and Karen Scoggins, Sheri Trudrung and Elizabeth Davis of the Bedford County Board of Education collaborated to bring businesses and schools together to form partnerships.(T-G Photo by Andrea Nix)

Partners in Education has been a dream of Allen Pitner, CEO of the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, for several years. This year, after receiving a Three Star grant spearheaded by Kelly North, those hopes are becoming reality.

The collaborative program pairs businesses with schools. Objectives are to strengthen Bedford County’s overall commitment to education, foster positive relationships between business, community and schools, and stimulate academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Wayne Dillingham, Coordinator of the Middle Tennessee Education Center at MTSU, and Tracy Watson representative of Cascade High School meet to discuss the partnership between the two schools.(T-G Photo by Andrea Nix)

Planning stages

A get-acquainted lunch was held at the Board of Education’s central office for business partners and school coordinators.

Partners planned activities for the new school year. Some business representatives volunteered to be guest readers in the schools. Other businesses agreed to help out with financial needs and donations. Tyson Foods, partnered with Southside Elementary, will grill chicken for the school’s Fall Festival in October.

Pitner’s hope is that through these partnerships “the businesses would have the schools’ backs and the schools would have the businesses’ backs.”

“Partners for Education should be mutually beneficial for everyone involved,” North said.

Students will get to see positive role models from different industries. Schools receive assistance in meeting their needs beyond what is currently available. Businesses get the chance to support the schools and help the kids succeed. Pitner says he hopes the program will continue to grow so that each school will have several business partners.

Julie Farris and Bart Lovvorn, Representatives of First Bank work together with Jean Williams and Susan Huff from Community Elementary to plan collaborative events for the school year. (T-G Photo by Andrea Nix)


The current partnerships are:

Tyson and Southside Elementary; DREMC and Harris Middle School; H.B. Cowan and Co. and Liberty; MTSU and Cascade High School; First Community Bank and Eakin Elementary; Titan Transfer and Cascade Elementary; Tennessee Rehabilitation Center and Community High School; Bedford County Highway Department and BCLA; Walmart DC and East Side; TCAT and Community Middle School; Elaborate Images and Shelbyville Central High School; Interlocal Solid Waste and Thomas Magnet; First Bank and Community Elementary; Cooper Steel and Cascade Middle School; Calsonic and Learning Way and CTE Annex.

Any business wishing to participate in Partners for Education can contact the Shelbyville Bedford County Chamber of Commerce at 931-684-3482 for more information.

TCAT representatives Leslie Martin and Laura Monks carry on a lively discussion with Community Middle School Librarian Jennifer Bennett. (T-G Photo by Andrea Nix)