DELRAY BEACH, FL — The Palm Beach County School District has given new life to the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The District has joined forces with the Council for Educational Change and the Arthur & Sara Jo Kobacker, Alfred & Ida Kobacker Foundation (Kobacker Foundation) to support the Village Academy School with multiple community business partnerships.
The school, on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus in Delray Beach, has moved from tradition to a trend-setting example for education. Village Academy is not just about reading, writing, and mathematics any more, but is now an institution of innovative thinking providing resources and services to its families.
The Palm Beach County School District has adopted the concept that business partnerships increase student performance. At Village Academy, 400 SW 12th Ave., the District supported the implementation of the Partnership to Advance School Success (PASS) program, created by the Council for Educational Change. The program pairs a business executive with a school for three years. In the Village Academy PASS Program, the Kobacker Foundation is the generous funder, with dollar-for-dollar matching funds from the Council. Over the past 10 years, the Council has invested over half a million dollars in Village Academy assisting in creating various ground breaking programs.
Principal Guarn Sims of Village Academy recounts, “fostering partnerships at Village is my expertise.” For example, he reached out to Estella Pyfrom, the West Palm Beach activist and philanthropist who founded the nationally recognized mobile computer lab. Sims initiated a partnership with “Estella’s Brilliant Bus,” which now is on campus providing computer instruction to students. Village Academy is one of the first — if not the first — school in the nation to integrate the “Brilliant Bus” concept into its curriculum. Because of this relationship, 25 Village Academy high school students went on a tour of colleges in “Estella’s Brilliant Bus” this past summer.
Village Academy has also developed a “Cradle to Career” school where pre-natal education begins with parents, before a child is born. These parents, of children enrolled in the Incredible Years Program (from birth through twenty-four months), are required to document no less than six activities per year reinforcing developmental skills taught to the student.
Out of this program, another partnership has flourished. Florida Atlantic University’s Nursing Faculty and college students administer basic health care services to the Incredible Years and Head Start Programs. College students fulfill their internship requirement and simultaneously benefit the Village Academy community. This partnership is another win-win for all.
These are only a few examples of how the PASS program at Village Academy, working together with the Palm Beach County School District and the Kobacker Foundation, have implemented several cutting edge programs at Village Academy.
For more information on Council programs visit www.ChangeEducation.org