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Focus School Project pairs schools in need, businesses

Reported by: Sandra Gonzalez
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Updated: 2/18/2014 5:08 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky has been trying to get local businesses involved with the schools, to invest time and money.

A project is in place that helps match up businesses with local schools.

The Focus School Project matches businesses of any size with at-risk schools identified through the free and reduced lunch program.

Sunrise Acres Elementary School is under the wing of The Stratosphere.

“It touches our hearts to see those kids,” said Angie Lydenberg of The Stratosphere. “We did an Angel Tree Drive. Parents talked about they got bikes for their kids and they didn't ever think they'd get a bike for their kid, and hearing their stories and how they were in tears because our employees stepped up and did that.”

Help from The Stratosphere included supplying families with food, participating in school festivals, and providing backpacks and other school supplies.

At Bailey Middle School, the new partner is attorney John Bailey, son of the school's namesake. Principal Terri Knepp says the pairing provides role models.

“We are looking for role models for those students who need to be able to know that they can be a fireman or be a policeman or be lawyer,” Knapp said. “And it doesn't matter if we are in a high-poverty area or Title 1 school. All kids can achieve, and all kids have those goals.”

Focus School Project Coordinator Kurt Arnold says the businesses can help in many ways, from a school supply drive to just collecting socks.

“It helps bring the community in and make that part of the whole education process.” Arnold said, “so those kids can come to school and actually be focused on their education and not worrying about not having socks on or not having something to eat.”

More than 150 schools have been matched with local businesses, but 70 others still would love to have businesses to partner up.

The project, which began in 1989, is an important part of the district's School-Community Partnership Program.


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