Partners in Action initiative for schools shows amazing progress

July 17, 2017

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Our schools can't do it alone, and many in Oklahoma City have heard this message and answered the call.

Since Partners in Action launched less than two years ago, the initiative has logged $4.4 million in community support and volunteer activity. Time, talent and treasure are the categories measuring community support in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Partners in Action is the name of the district- and Foundation-run initiative which has a mission of connecting schools and their needs with community partners.

An impact report was issued last week showing the amazing progress this initiative has had. This breaks down into some amazing numbers.

There are nearly 6,000 volunteers actively engaged in OKCPS.

Total volunteer hours are 102,334, with an economic value of $2,240,069 (calculations based on data from independentsector.org) are involved as mentors, tutors, reading buddies, career coaches, testing monitors, beautification projects and general help at the schools.

Nearly 400 projects posted by OKCPS principals have been matched with community partner support. These projects include a wide variety of posts, including music and athletic equipment, school uniforms, shoes, benches and beautification supplies, dance team uniforms and even a popcorn maker, to name just a few.

There are also regularly scheduled community partner networking events at schools that allow partners to engage directly with school principals to build relationships and learn about needs.

There have been events at Star Spencer, Capitol Hill, Douglass, U.S. Grant and John Marshall. The events are held at the high schools and all feeder pattern principals are invited.

These have been well attended and have proven to be quite successful, with 95 projects being matched on the spot or as a direct result of these events.

Partners in Action is also the umbrella which houses Coat-A-Kid, which has a goal of raising $140,000 to supply new coats to the thousands of students who would not otherwise have one. Kit-A-Kid is a new initiative being launched as an effort to provide school supplies for classrooms in an efficient manner that ensures all students have the necessary quality supplies for use in class.

More information about Partners in Action and corresponding programs can be found at okckids.com.

There are 620 community partner profiles currently in the database. These are partners interested in helping and looking for the right connection. Partners in Action has the goal of growing the list of community partners profiles by at least 200 in the next academic year. Even more important is to be sure each partner fully engages in a project, or better yet fully engages with a school on an ongoing basis.

Partners in Action provides the vehicle, staff from the Foundation and OKCPS make the logistics work and community partners provide lasting and real benefits to schools, classrooms and students.

The vision for OKCPS to become a world-class school district is a big job. Because schools can't do it alone, the community coming together to provide support in strategic and meaningful ways is critical to making this vision a reality.

Read Mary Mélon's original NewsOK editorial