PUSD Strategic Plan Offers Opportunities for Businesses to Get Involved with Education

A plan is a road map and one of the most important road maps for Pleasanton's parents and children is the Pleasanton Unified School District's Strategic Plan. Developed with a committee of more than 30 people, including teachers, parents, administrators, students and community members, the plan focuses on three key areas-communication, achievement and partnerships.

Developing strong partnerships between businesses, schools, families, and the community is a very important priority of the Strategic Plan. One of the partnership action items is to provide all students with workplace learning opportunities through knowledge, skills and workplace experience, says Jim Negri, deputy superintendent of the Pleasanton Unified School District.

To further the workplace experience programs, the Tri-Valley Connections Internship program was formed to help prepare students for real-life work and career opportunities. Tri-Valley Connections is a regional project that is the creation of local school districts, businesses, chambers of commerce, higher education, and educational foundations.

Negri says that Tri-Valley Connections internship program is looking for businesses in which to place interns with a target date of February 2002 to have the program completely up and running. He sees the internship program as one important way that Hacienda businesses can become even more involved and active with the school district.

"The internship program ties very nicely into our idea of partnerships. We look at how the program and internships can benefit the students as well as the businesses."

It's a unique opportunity. Because the program has not yet started, companies interested in participating in the program will have an opportunity to help form the policies and procedures which will govern the program.

"Kids are real interested in learning more about real-world jobs and careers." Negri notes that Dilllingham Corporation has been very active in Junior Achievement, which teaches students about entrepreneurship and capitalism.

Negri explains that students, companies, and the school system can benefit from the program.

Internships provide students with career direction and relevance to the workplace. The intern works for an employer in a coordinated effort with his or her school to fill existing workplace needs.

Businesses benefit from internships as well. Companies receive skilled employees at a low cost, fast response to employer's requests for workers, and a potential employee pool.

Schools benefit by connecting classrooms to the outside world, discouraging dropouts, and motivating students to become productive.

Negri says that the Tri-Valley Connections is also looking at informal gatherings where groups of business people would meet during the year to talk with students and parents about what it means to be a doctor, engineer, a teacher or other careers and how to get there.

"What we've done with the Tri-Valley Business Council in the past year was to have two business forums called Careers in Public Service with Chief Tim Neal as keynote speaker, and three other people in public service jobs. They talked about their backgrounds, and what they do." Students and parents were enthusiastic about the program.

If you are interested in learning more about Tri-Valley Connections Internships, or would be interested in talking with students and parents about your company, please call Jim Negri at (925) 426-4330 or e-mail at jnegri@pleasanton.k12.ca.us . The Pleasanton Unified School District office is located at 4665 Bernal Avenue; phone (925) 462-5500. Visit www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us for more information about the school district.

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