A few weeks ago we held our first Industry Partners Breakfast. We invited some engineers from industry and higher education whom we had worked closely with in the past. We also extended the invitation to acquaintances that we thought might be interested in becoming more involved. And we asked each partner to bring a “friend/colleague (from a different company) who might have an interest in working with students in a high school engineering program.”
The goal of the breakfast was to accomplish three things: recognize our partners for their prior support, increase the level of involvement of our current partners, and increase the numbers of new partners.
We had breakfast of bagels & cream cheese, fresh fruit, pastries, coffee, and juice. We showed a presentation about our program and our goals for this year that our partners could help with. We had a general discussion time where everyone introduced themselves and talked about their interests related to educational support. We gave everyone a Patterson High School mug, a PHS Project Lead the Way pencil, and a copy of our updated brochure (pdf) for our Academy of Engineering. And then we recognized, with a plaque and thanks, some of our strongest partners who have been part of our advisory board.
We put a ton of work into organizing the breakfast. It led to a couple of those twelve-hour days I’ve been mentioning. But it was a great success!
As I talked about here, I’ve been working this year more than ever on marketing the program, our academy, and our school. One of our mentor teachers, who helped with the breakfast, wrote up this press release (pdf) about the breakfast.
From here, we plan to reach out to our partners based on where they said they might be able to help us (we had a list of possible areas of support). Some will be coming to the school in less than two weeks to help us judge the annual STEM Competition. Some volunteered to sit on our advisory board and attend monthly meetings guiding the progress of Baltimore City Schools’ PLTW engineering programs. Others expressed a strong interest in mentoring our students; and we hope to set up a mentoring program with multiple levels (industry partners mentoring students, our seniors mentoring our incoming 9th and 10th graders).
A great breakfast, kicking off what we hope will shape up to be a great year!
Oh, and once again please check out my compatriots in Baltimore education blogging who are also participating in NaBloPoMo: