Education Alliance encourages mentoring & community partnershipsBy Yasmine Regester
Published: December 18, 2012
Members of the Guilford Education Alliance hosted their 2012 Education Summit on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The Education Summit gives the community and education advocates an update on the progress of Guilford County Schools and education around Guilford County.
This year’s keynote speaker was Cynthia Marshall, outgoing President of AT&T North Carolina. Known in the community as a “Friend of Education,” Marshall is a frequent speaker to state and national audiences about the importance of the community’s role in quality education. Marshall also serves as co-chair of the “Pathways to Prosperity” initiative of the North Carolina New Schools Project. A $350 million project, this initiative along with
the North Carolina State Board of Education work to engage employers and educators to build career pathway systems for high school students, equipping them with the skills and credentials to succeed in an increasingly competitive labor market.
She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, attaining degrees in both Business Administration and Human Resources Management.
“In North Carolina, we truly love and care about our children,” said Marshall.
Marshall explained, growing up as the fourth of six children in a household with an abusive father. At a young age, Marshall witnessed her father shoot a man to death. She admitted that when her father told her she would be nothing, she didn’t except it.
“I told myself I would be great.”
Marshall spoke about how those in education have to be not just educators but also be mentors and encourage the students to be the best they can be.
“This is not just up to our parents. This is a business transaction and a moral transaction.”
Marshall then encouraged business leaders, community members, policymakers and parents to do all they can to support their students. “It’s about economic development and growth for our state and our nation. Open up your businesses and make a difference in their lives.”
She added, “Community leaders embrace every member of the village, the community did not cast me aside because my father shot a man in the head, or because I didn’t have money. Make education important, but more importantly provide a safe place for our children.
“To policy makers, help us set policies that will encourage businesses to invest in education, reward those that do. Realize education is the pathway to prosperity. The future of our community is at stake.
“To parents, help our children to rethink possible. Encourage them to be the best they can be. Education really does matter to all of us.”
GEA also presented its sixth annual education report, Education Matters in Guilford County: Measuring Community and School Success, which provides data on school funding, academic achievement, district staffing and business support.
According to the report, graduation rates for the 2011-2012 school year slightly improved by 1.4 percent. The report also revealed that more students need remedial class work when they start college.
Maurice “Mo” Green, GCS superintendent explained to conference attendees his four-year strategic plan to increase the use of technology in schools and to develop a more personalized learning experience for students. Guilford is the recipient of a $30 million federal Race to the Top grant to be used for virtual initiatives.