BRADENTON — A surgeon, a scientist, a priest or a cowboy.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Students at Palma Sola Elementary showed teachers Wednesday during career day at the school on Fifth Avenue Northwest. They also got the opportunity to thank some other grown-ups who have already chosen their careers and are helping with students’ needs.
About a dozen business partners visited the school for the launching of the Manatee County School District’s Web-based application ePIE, or Partners in Education, program. It was created to enhance the Business-Education Partnership program in the county.
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The application allows partners to click on an ePIE icon on the school district’s Web site, quickly register as a business partner and donate money and other items to schools. For example, if schools want to create individual classroom libraries, which cost about $200 annually per classroom, a business can log on to the site and either give money or buy a gift card for a bookstore, said Dawn Lengel, district business partner coordinator.
“The beauty of ePIE is that it eliminates time-consuming paperwork,” said Lengel. “Once a business or organization is registered, ePIE helps them form relationships that enhance student learning and promote school involvement in the community. Through successful Partnerships in Education, schools and businesses are able to develop unique methods of accomplishing educational goals that would not be possible otherwise, especially in these trying economic times.”
The district and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce teamed up to create the original Business-Education partnership program about 20 years ago.
“With more than 300 partnerships flourishing locally, our students and community reap the benefits of an involved, committed business community,” said Jacki Dezelski, vice president of the Manatee chamber. “ePIE is the next step and will bring the partnership program into the digital world.”
Palma Sola has 29 business partners and will pave the way for how ePIE will work in the rest of the district, said Doreen Chaloupka, Palma Sola’s art teacher and business partner coordinator.
“We could not manage without the support of our businesses,” Principal Kathy Redmond told some of the school’s business partners during an assembly that honored them and also was a part of the school’s American Education Week festivities.
Wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck to play doctor for the day, Katherine Yoho waved a flag and sang, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” with her fellow third-grade classmates.
Chaloupka formally introduced ePIE to the business partners in the school’s computer lab.
“This is a great opportunity for us to reach out to the schools,” said Demetrios’ Pizza House owner Gus Sokos, as he registered his business. “Every kid likes pizza. Hopefully we’ll have some future customers, and at the same time we are enjoying giving back to the community that has supported us for 34 years now.”
ePIE registration is available at http:// www.manatee.k12.fl.us/.
Natalie Neysa Alund, legal affairs reporter, can be reached at 745-7095.