At A Glance: Ways to Get Involved in Education in Rockdale County Public Schools
Partners in Education
• Youth Apprenticeship
• Career-related activities
Academic Booster Club
Rockdale Foundation for Excellence in Education
General Volunteering/Parent Advisory Council
CONYERS -- You can volunteer to read to a class once a year or you can volunteer to mentor a student every week.
Whatever you choose, Rockdale County school officials hope you can find a way to say "I can do that."
About 75 individuals representing area businesses and organizations gathered at the Rockdale Career Academy on Tuesday for the fifth annual Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce's Engage in Education event, "I can do that!" to find out how to get more involved in education.
"There are so many ways to get involved in the school system," said Scott Hartsell, chair of the Chamber's education committee, to those in attendance. "It can be for an hour a year, and that would be more than we have without the support. ... It doesn't have to be much, it just has to be something."
This year, the program was a little different than the past four years.
Instead of hearing an hour-long program in lecture format, guests visited four information tables to hear from school system workers about how they can get involved with mentoring, Partners in Education, Work-Based Learning and Academic boosters.
Cindy Ball, director of Community Relations at Rockdale County Public Schools, said the event is about building relationships with businesses and individuals.
"We want to prompt people to be thinking about how they can get involved in education," she said.
Ball said each group gave guests ideas and suggestions about how they can get involved, but those conversations may lead down more paths to other opportunities.
"We want the businesses to think, 'I can do that,'" she said. "It's about starting that conversation."
Student mentors are asked to volunteer for at least 30 minutes a week, and the program hopes to gain at least 100 more volunteers this year, in addition to the 92 it already has, according to Tameka Singh, mentor specialist for RCPS.
The work-based learning program is looking for at least 20 more business partners this year.
WBL coordinator Jeff Rogers said those businesses may be contacted this year or in the future about partnerships, as students are available in certain areas of study. He is working with nearly 100 students this year to partner with about 40 outside businesses and 15 school-based work areas. He also is interested in making contacts with businesses to facilitate tours and serve as guest speakers for students.
"Our ultimate goal is to help train our students," he said.
Currently, companies like Rockdale Medical Center and Roger Cannon Photography partner with schools to give students training and provide services, like volunteer opportunities and mock interviews.
"We can't give back enough in our community," Cannon said.
Rita Powers at Black Ink, a T-shirt and screen printing company operating in Conyers for 20 years, said she wanted to attend the event so she could get out in the community more.
"We deal a lot with schools, and it's time for us to give back and see what we can do," she said. "I learned that there are ways to do that for 30 minutes a week. I thought it was more involved, but we didn't know."
Hartsell said businesses can donate funding to schools, their time to schools and students or just give of their talents.
"Students need help in whatever way you want," he said.
The event was sponsored by the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and featured a meal prepared by culinary arts students from the Rockdale Career Academy.