“Our businesses have always been willing to help the school district, but now they are having to digitize their incentives, find ways to fundraise that are safe, and to come into our virtual classroom to help our teachers in supporting the curriculum…”
Partners in Education and school liaisons in the Socorro Independent School District united via a virtual meeting last month, during the district’s Partners in Education Exhibition, where local businesses and nonprofit organizations were eager to share information on the services and resources available to campuses.
The sixth annual event allowed SISD business partners and school liaisons to meet, learn about the businesses in partnership with the district, offer support, ask questions, and exchange information to set up appointments for the school year to plan fundraisers or activities.
SISD’s public relations specialist and PIE coordinator Maya Kirtley said the first-ever virtual exhibition was important to give businesses an opportunity to present to the school liaisons and demonstrate how they are being innovative with services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our businesses have always been willing to help the school district, but now they are having to digitize their incentives, find ways to fundraise that are safe, and to come into our virtual classroom to help our teachers in supporting the curriculum,” Kirtley said. “Those challenges are being met with eagerness from our business partners to get involved.”
Normally, the in-person event has 50 businesses set up in a trade show format, but this year businesses were invited to participate in the event to present individually as they rotated among three sessions in the virtual meeting.
Business representatives like Marcela Riaño, owner and program director for Young Rembrandts, were grateful for the opportunity to connect with school liaisons.
“The partnership between schools and organizations is so important and it’s a partnership that I really value with SISD,” Riaño said.
Young Rembrandts is a national franchise, which Riaño brought to the El Paso/Las Cruces region 10 years ago.
The program offers children 3 to 12 years old with afterschool drawing classes once a week. The classes help students engage artistically, promoting attention to detail, time and task management, and process thinking, which ultimately helps in their overall educational success.
While Young Rembrandts has been offering online classes during the pandemic, Riaño has seen business decline. She was thankful for the opportunity with the PIE exhibition to form new and promising connections with Team SISD.
“I want to keep this company alive, so we are working hard on our wonderful virtual program,” Riaño said. “During these difficult times, I don’t think ‘stronger together’ is just a phrase, this (event) is the perfect example.”
The school liaisons also look forward to the annual event and expressed gratitude for the district going the extra mile to connect them with Partners in Education through a virtual avenue.
“I thought from a virtual perspective the meeting was phenomenal,” said Spec. Rafael Hernando III Middle School’s parent liaison Deborah Villa. “It was a learning experience for everyone, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Villa said the event is important to allow liaisons and partners to meet and be familiar with who they are doing business with and enable them to work together for community support in SISD.
“This event is invaluable and much needed because there are a lot of businesses that do need our support and here, we are family,” Villa said. “We are here to help one another.”
Kirtley said Team SISD celebrates many accomplishments throughout the school year and businesses want to be a part of the success. They are eager to participate in career day events so students can learn about what opportunities are out there, provide fundraisers so that students can travel, and provide donations, which help in student and district success.
“The district has always been in a wonderful position to welcome the help of our business partners, but with the COVID-19 pandemic it is now our turn to give back to them,” Kirtley said.
“We want to help out with anything that they need to keep operating, to keep moving forward, and to continue supporting each other in the midst of all this.”
To learn more about the Socorro ISD Partners in Education program, click here.