Community Strong

  • Written by: Matthew Wiggins
  • Photos by: Aaron Ford

Strengthening connections between business, industry and community

At Skyline High School, teacher and librarian Marie Kaufman prepares a corner of the media center for a ‘Brown Bag’ career discussion – a regularly scheduled event that invites business and industry leaders from throughout the community to engage with students. Today’s guest is Kyle Kingrey of BI Incorporated, a local manufacturer of electronic components. Kyle spends the next 20 minutes highlighting the ‘nuts and bolts’ of his company’s operation and emphasizes the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.

On the other side of town, Colin Rickman of Longs Peak Middle School conducts a conference call with a Regis University professor specializing in cybersecurity and information technology. The two are preparing for the school’s first CyberPatriots club, sponsored by LogRhythm, a Boulder-based cybersecurity firm. The firm also supports the program by providing mentors skilled in various aspects of cybersecurity.

These interactions are not uncommon within St. Vrain Valley Schools. They happen frequently and at all levels of the organization. As an educational system, St. Vrain understands that bridging the gap between education and industry is necessary to accelerate academic achievement, prepare students for the future and ensure a strong, vibrant economy.

In the Fall of 2018, St. Vrain Valley Schools launched a new community outreach program called Community Strong. Community Strong is included in St. Vrain Valley Schools’ vision and priority for community engagement. Through this initiative, St Vrain will continue to build and strengthen connections to small businesses, corporate entities and industry leaders, while promoting experiential learning, integration of technology and career/pathway exploration.

Advancing Public Education through Community Collaboration

The Community Strong initiative is driven by three primary goals:

  1. Make it easy for partners to connect with schools and district initiatives
  2. Measure partner impact while communicating success
  3. Consult with industry partners to cultivate educational programming and career pathways

The Community Strong partner portal – communitystrong.svvsd.org – allows community partners to browse current opportunities within St. Vrain Valley Schools. Opportunities vary in scope, but ultimately connect partners and schools for the purpose of experiential learning. Examples of potential partnerships:

  • - Classroom Speaking
  • - Job Shadowing
  • - Mentoring
  • - Internships/Apprenticeships
  • - Career Fairs
  • - Design Challenges
  • - Clubs and Competitions
  • - Workforce Development
  • - Community Service
  • - Project-based Learning
  • - Facility Tours
  • - Special Events
  • - Student Contract Work
  • - Advisory Boards

Once a community or business partner registers with the partner portal, they have the ability to communicate directly with school personnel to learn more about the posted opportunity, track the number of hours spent in schools and share their experiences. Impact reports are available for publication or can be shared with partners participating in the Community Strong initiative – showcasing measurable results and celebrating successful student impact.

In addition to connecting schools with partners, Community Strong invites industry partners to participate in educational program development. Throughout Colorado, industry leaders, legislators and educational institutions are coming together to address workforce development, emerging technologies and the transformation of talent pipelines. One such organization is Colorado Succeeds, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that strives to educate each and every student to the fullest potential.

In a framework produced by Colorado Succeeds, experts predict that 85 percent of the jobs that will be available in 2030 have yet to be invented. This means that students currently in kindergarten – the Class of 2030 – will need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators and emotionally intelligent citizens. Through the work of Community Strong and St. Vrain’s valued partners, our students will be prepared to shape the workforce in a technology driven society.

Under the Community Strong umbrella, St. Vrain Valley Schools has initiated several advisory boards – computer science, biomedical, manufacturing – tasked with steering curriculum development, integration of certificates and increased work-based learning opportunities. By involving industry, the district ensures that its programs are providing students with modern implementations, state-of-the art technology and the necessary credentials to become successful contributing citizens.

Together with its partners, St. Vrain Valley Schools continues to advance the expectations of education for the betterment of our students, community and nation.

Click here to visit communitystrong.svvsd.org >>

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ST. VRAINNOVATION was produced in-house by the St. Vrain Department of Communications.
ST. VRAINNOVATION and other district initiatives are generously supported by these and many other community sponsors.

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