Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Making an Educational Connection - Educator Appreciation Mixer

Every year the Chamber of Commerce hosts an Educator Appreciation Mixer to bring together members of the business community and teachers to stress the importance of a partnership. This year, the mixer, whose presenting sponsor is SCF Arizona, will be held at the Eagles Aerie on Aug. 21, from 5-7 p.m. and it will be an opportunity to meet the new educators, administrators and long-time teachers who have taught our children.

The connection between the business community and our schools cannot be underestimated. According to Chamber CEO and president, Lisa Krueger, the mixer has a multi-level purpose.

“We want our educators to feel welcome in the community and to be aware of the many services, retail stores, etc. that are available to them,” she said. “But just as important, though, is the bond between educational and economic development that we need to strengthen. Workforce development begins in elementary school when our kids are playing ‘when I grow up I want to be an engineer’.”

Krueger emphasized that it was the business and educational community’s responsibility to nurture children with proper education and training, which would steer them into the workforce. Gary Kellogg, the director of the Partnership for Economic Development, concurred.

“It is the backbone of economic development,” he said. “Students, plus education, plus business equals success.”

The Superintendent of the Lake Havasu Unified School District echoed similar sentiments.

“We welcome and appreciate our strong partnership with the business community,” said Gail Malay. “Our product—our students—will some day be in the workforce, and we want our students prepared for a successful future. The only way to do that in the 21st Century is to partner with business.”

Part of the purpose of the Educators Appreciation Mixer is creating dialogue with the business leaders with what workforce skills they require.

“We push education and our business partners pull education,” said Malay. “This enables students to become productive members of the workforce.”

She added that when business and education work together, the students, the teachers and ultimately, the community benefits. “This year, the business community has provided a keynote speaker, Neil Howe,” said Malay. “Neil is a national speaker and authority on Generations. When staff understands the characteristics of different generations, they are more understanding and relationships improve. Good relationships lead to better teaching and learning.”

The cost to attend the Educator Appreciation Mixer is $10 per person, or you can sponsor a teacher (and yourself) for $25. Educators from all schools in the community are welcome. There are also multiple opportunities for sponsorships and/or advertising. Every educator that attends will receive a goody bag with items and information about community services. Anyone wishing to contribute items to the goody bags needs to bring 100 giveaways to the Chamber office by Aug. 14.

For more information, contact the Chamber at 855-4115