Partner Breakfast Celebrates Success

Lakota Business Partner Breakfast Celebrates Success, Looks Ahead to the Future
Posted on 05/23/2019
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business partner breakfastOn May 3, Lakota Schools welcomed 150 community partners, staff and students to celebrate a successful year and look ahead to the future at its Business Partner Breakfast. Katie Bauer, the district’s strategic partnerships coordinator, wanted to thank the business community for its commitment to the students at Lakota Local Schools.

From hosting internships to being a guest speaker to facilitating a STEAM2 night activity, business partners bring real world learning to students in a variety of ways - and to a variety of grades. At the early childhood and elementary schools, guest speakers and project mentors can be found in many Lakota buildings. Job shadowing and internships are added for the secondary grades.

Mike Parkinson, vice president of architecture at Cincinnati’s SHP, said collaboration with Lakota goes along with the company’s philosophy of supporting life-long learners. “We feel it is our responsibility to serve and support our local communities in any way we can,” said Parkinson. “By working together, we can help support (Lakota’s) objectives while getting a few people excited about a career in the future.” Parkinson sees mentorship, job shadowing and internships as an opportunity to pique student interest in different career possibilities.

In the past year, Bauer has grown her initial list of 20 partners to 150. In addition to thanking businesses, the breakfast was a way for Bauer to tee up the future. “I wanted to gather all of our people in one place and let them hear what our goals are (for next year),” she said. “I also wanted to gain insight into what (our partners) are looking for so we can guide our curriculum appropriately.”

Attendees included staff and students who are vested in this program. Bauer used the breakfast as a vehicle to share with students the opportunities that are available to them. Whether they participated in an internship or completed a passion project about the community, students were happy to be included. A junior at Lakota West, Alex Gehl was pleased to be included in the event. “I had a great time talking with people from different businesses and corporations about my 20 Time project. I think it was really interesting talking and hearing ideas to make our school a better place and educational program,” he said.

The gathering featured speakers from not only Lakota, but also business partners. Modeled after the four pillars of Lakota’s new mission statement, guests learned how the district is personalized, future ready, fiscally responsible and in this together with the community. Small group discussion and feedback after each speaker ensued, giving Bauer many ideas for the coming years. “I think it was a great experience,” said Teriasia Ware, a junior at Lakota West. “It showed us the ‘background’ of things and everything they’re doing to improve the school. I think it was amazing to hear different views on situations going on and it made me feel like I had a voice.”

Bauer has not only expanded the internship program in terms of opportunities, but also time. Previously, internships were available during spring break or over the summer. This year, students participated in programs throughout the year, some being year-long. “The goal was to do one more thing than we did last year,” reflects Bauer. That she did. From a UC Health speaker series at both Lakota East and West to pilot programs at East like Engineering and Tech Day as well as 4 Es Day, with the help of partners, teachers and counselors, Bauer has been able to expand the impact and learning of Lakota students.

Looking ahead to next year, there’s no rest for Bauer. Plans to expand the Engineering and Tech and 4 Es days to both high schools are being made. She’d also like to add another industry day, lunch and learns where business partners speak to students throughout the year and expand on what has occurred this year. “When everyone is in the same lane, there’s great synergy to help our students determine what will come after high school.”

Pictured: From top left: Tom Daskalakis, Chief Administrative Officer West Chester Hospital and Kelly Johantges, Lakota East junior, speak to guests about the value of the program; Katie Bauer, Lakota Strategic Partnerships Coordinator, welcomes guests to the Business Partner Breakfast.