Beyond The Bell: Businesses Step Into The Classroom

Friday, October 26th 2012, 10:35 pm
By: News 9

The effort to raise student performance in Oklahoma City Public Schools now goes beyond the parents and teachers as folks take a break from the office and head back to school.

News 9's Chris McKinnon takes us Beyond the Bell as local businesses step into the classroom.

It's rise and shine time at Edwards Elementary School. This weekly assembly brings in volunteers to reinforce the character-building lesson students focused on all week. It's part of a larger push to get more local organizations into schools.

"It's so important for them to see positive role models so they can emulate that…we want them to be successful," said principal Ronda Hamilton.

Students meet with a mentor once a week. With 30 years of education experience, Hamilton knows mentoring works.

"They help us with things that we, we might miss something and they have that one-on-one," said Hamilton. "Someone who just comes every week and they know that they depend on them, just to say hi, how you doing, can pull them to the side, can talk to them."

Local companies believe it too. They play a part in helping these students reach their highest achievement.

"We can sort of take a community approach for dealing with some of these other issues that these kids, yeah, in this area are dealing with," said Hamilton.

These volunteers know their time improves their students' lives on multiple levels.

"It's the idea that we're going to look at this community and identify the issues, the barriers that kids are having to being successful," said Sandino Thompson, mentor from Public Strategies. 

"They're also improving in reading, which is huge and we've seen those improvements that we can quantify," said mentor with Sandridge Energy, Christal Bennett.

They're laying a foundation for these students to succeed.

"The clock is ticking. We gotta make something happen there," Hamilton said.

Right now their businesses support more than half of OKC's public schools, but there is still a huge need at the middle and high school levels.

Read more about information on how your business, organization or church can volunteer with OKCPS.