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Business, education partnerships can ‘transform’ the state

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The benefit of a business/education partnership was discussed today during TransformSC’s annual conference in Greenville.

TransformSC was founded in 2013 by the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness to transform the public education system in South Carolina so that every student graduates prepared for careers, college and citizenship, according to its website. The group is made up of business leaders, educators, students, parents and policymakers.

Burke Royster, superintendent of Greenville County Schools, summarized the benefits of partnerships during his conference presentation by saying “everything that we do, we can do better when we work in partnership with all aspects of the community – parents, community-based organizations, for profits, nonprofits, government entities – all kinds of institutions.”

Royster highlighted partnerships with Michelin, Greenville Health System and the Greenville Federal Credit Union, all of which provide students with mentors, learning opportunities and insights into future career opportunities.

Craig Brown, president and co-owner of the Greenville Drive, spoke at the TransformSC conference in Greenville. (Photo by Teresa Cutlip)“We have a very broad spectrum of partnerships throughout Greenville County, across several entities, accomplishing a great many goals. One of our greatest partners is the Greenville Drive,” Royston said when introducing Greenville Drive president and co-owner Craig Brown during the conference.

Brown said the Greenville Drive organization thinks of itself as “more than just a baseball team.”

“Everything we do we foster through our mission statement, which has very little to nothing to do with baseball,” Brown said. That mission is to create lasting memories, make the Upstate a stronger community and become a part of the fabric of the community, he said, because being the fabric of the community “defines how you make decisions, how you think short-term and long-term, and most importantly who you partner with.”

“We like to think our commitment to the community is really what sets us apart,” he said.

Part of being woven into the fabric of the community for the Greenville Drive includes its Reading All-Stars program, Safe Kids Day and AJ Whittenburg Night, during which the STEM careers are celebrated. Brown said there are also two nights devoted to workforce development - one in health care and one in advanced manufacturing.

TransformSC supports system-wide innovation in South Carolina’s PK-16 education system by:

  • Coordinating action teams addressing emerging issues in education innovation;
  • Communicating with stakeholders, including educators, community members, businesses, policymakers and media;
  • Supporting educators and business leaders advocating for education innovation,
  • and promoting innovative practices that can be replicated around the state.

There are currently 55 schools from 23 districts, as well as five entire districts, in the TransformSC network. New schools and districts are accepted n a quarterly basis.

Reach Teresa Cutlip at 864-720-1223.

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