Public Education Partners expanding engagement, advocacy for schools

  • Thursday, February 6, 2014



Public Education Partners – an Aiken-based advocacy organization – is expanding its mission to include more direct support of the Aiken County School District.


Since its founding in 1995, the program – more commonly known as PEP – has assisted individual schools with small grants for teachers, helped fund several middle schools with synergistic computer career-based software and annually coordinates the District’s Teacher of the Year Banquet.


“We’re going to continue that,” said the PEP Board of Directors Chair Liz Stewart. “Now, we’re also looking at more strategic positions – not just individual school needs, but getting more focus on education and creating awareness of education needs.”


PEP has established a new community engagement committee. Its members will reach out to parents, parent-teacher-organization members, grandparents and others who have a link to people in the school system.


There’s a huge segment of residents who don’t have that direct connection, she said.


“We need to engage people in the system, whether they have a child in it or not,” Stewart said. “What kids learn affects us all.”


Diana Floyd has three children who have been in public schools.


Her interest in the schools led to her joining the PEP board a year ago, and now she’s the engagement committee chair. She finds so much good that happens in the schools, even with limited resources, she said.


“We want to look at the academic side of it. There are so many ways to measure numbers, such as graduation rates. Sometimes the measurements are not accurate, and we really want to get accurate information out there,” Floyd said.


Kimberly Canada, another board member, is chairing an advocacy committee.


That group is looking at issues that are more global, such as School Board candidacy, the upcoming election for a new state superintendent of education and encouraging more teachers to take part in the voting process.


“We need to have a state-level presence to see what opportunities are available to meet the needs of the schools,” said Canada. “A lot of funding is prescribed by the state, and there is not much local control.”


Aiken Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt has worked with PEP for several years and appreciates its growth and its initiative in introducing a broader approach.


“It’s a wonderful expanded mission,” she said. “We’re benefiting from their support and their advocacy.”


Senior writer Rob Novit is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.


Comments

Notice about comments:

North Augusta Star is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. We do not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not North Augusta Star.

If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full terms and conditions.

Upcoming Events
Print Ads
Latest Videos


North Augusta Star

© 2014 North Augusta Star an Evening Post Industries company. All Rights Reserved.

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Parental Consent Form.