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Foundation Directors Hear What
School/Business Partnerships Do
BY SUSAN USHER
A community school/business
partnership can not only support
school improvement efforts, but can
help bring about radical changes in a
local educational system, new direc
tors and supporters of the Brunswick
County Educational Foundation
learned Monday night.
At a reorganizational dinner for
the not-for-profit foundation at Sea
Trail Plantation, about 25 Brunswick
County residents heard from three
speakers about their experiences
Mary Holdemess, senior develop
ment officer for the Durham Public
Education Network, told how the in
dependent network has broadened
its scope from that of traditional
schools support to become a catalyst
for community building in Durham
County, where the county and city
school systems recently merged.
In Granville County Schools,
partnership director Jan Allen said,
the in-house Granville School /Bus
iness Partnership operates a variety
of programs with the support of the
Granville Business/Industry Advis
These range from traditional, easy
A state wildlife official says
there's no reason to be alarmed
about a bobcat spotted Monday
night near a residential area at Sea
Trail Plantation in Sunset Beach.
"They're real shy and won't at
tack you unless sorrse'hing's wrong,"
said Fred Taylor, local enforcement
officer with the N.C. Wildlife Re
sources Commission. "But you
wouldn't want to corner it."
John Penfield, who lives in a Sea
Trail neighborhood called The
Woods, said he saw a bobcat around
6 p.m. Monday on Sea Trail Drive
West about 150 yards from the
"I recognized it as a bobcat right
away," Penfield said Tuesday. "I
have seen bobcats in Pennsylvania
on two occasions so 1 recognized
this. It was bobbed in the tail and
weighed about 25 to 30 pounds."
Penfield said he got a good look
at the cat's face. "I whistled and it
stopped. When it turned it faced me
and I could see it's face. It was act
ing very normal. It slinked along af
ter I whistled."
Penfield speculated that the bobcat
may have been attracted to the area
by food that people had been leaving
outside for dogs and other animals.
Taylor said there are bobcats in
Brunswick County, but it's unusual
to see one in a populated area.
"We've got a few. You don't run
up on them that much," Taylor said.
"They are real shy. It's real unusual
to even see one. I don't see that
many cats. You're average person
will never see a cat."
In most cases, Taylor said bobcats
pose no threat to the humans or pets.
"Even a small dog would be able to
scare a cat off. They're very nervous
about barking. A little old chihuahua
could put a cat into conniption fits."
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-to-do projects such as mini-grants
for teachers to helping secure pas
sage of a bond referendum, support
ing SAT improvement efforts and
securing agreements from business
es that employ students to limit their
hours and support efforts to keep
student grades up and students in
Newer partnership projects are
aimed at bringing about a complete
overhaul of the school system, from
the foundation up.
These "transformational" projects
include staff development opportu
nities. establishing a local teachers'
pay supplement program later ac
cepted for county funding, "guaran
teeing" Granville school system gra
duates to prospective employers and
providing a portfolio that has helped
students see how what they do in
school relates to the workplace, and
a "Cradle to Classroom" program
that presents parents of newborns
with a portfolio of helpful material
and continue to do so until the child
"This sends the message to par
ents that 'the schools are on your
side.'" said Allen.
Most school/business partnerships
arc mutually beneficial relationships
initiated because local businesses
and industries are concerned about
(he quality of high school graduate,
the type of worker they will be get
ting. John Dornan, executive direc
tor of The Public School Forum of
He challenged directors of the lo
cal foundation to follow the example
of maturing partnerships and move
beyond economic development into
"deeper waters," the larger issue of
quality of existence.
"Counties are now asking 'What
kind of quality of life are we going
to have? What kind of people will
we be? What kind of democracy
will we have?"
"I hope that your partnership will
look at a broader agenda, but one
that has economic development as
an element," he said.
Whatever shape the local founda
tion takes, Dornan counseled that it
will need "a strong desire" for
school improvement coupled with
leadership and hard work. The
school system's actual needs versus
the community's perception of its
needs must be considered, and needs
matched to resources.
That, said Dornan, means the
foundation and school system "must
do a lot of talking to each other."
Elected as directors of the founda
tion Monday night were Dr. Marilyn
Ain, psychologist; Kay Blackburn,
Southern Bell, three principals to he
named by the Brunswick County
Principals Association; Dorothy Es
sey, president of the Brunswick
Board of Realtors; William Fairley,
attorney and sitting school board
member; Scott Irby, NationsBank;
Superintendent of Schools Ralph
Johnston; Eileen Kellagher; Carol
Midgctt, an award-winning elemen
tary school teacher; the Rev. Fred
Roberts; Polly Russ. owner/operator
of The Kids' Connection and a sit
ting school board member; Dr.
George Saunders, physician. The
board will be expanded to include
between 20 and 25 people.
Bob Slockett is the foundation's
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Among the local foundation's
goals are to support student enrich
ment programs, provide recognition
of outstanding students and educa
tors and provide for enhancement of
the local curriculum.
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