The power of partnerships was on display at two KCS elementary schools near the end of the spring semester.
At Maynard Elementary, community leaders and school officials celebrated the opening of a new food pantry that provides dry goods, meat, eggs and cheese to the families of Maynard students.
The pantry is a project of Second Harvest Food Bank and is supported by Redeemer Church of Knoxville. Morgan Stanley provided funding for the project. Families have access to the pantry on the third Thursday of every month, including summer break.
Maynard also celebrated the installation of a “little free library,” a brightly painted box on a signpost near the front door that is stocked with books for children to borrow; it was created with support from the Rotary Club of Knoxville.
Meanwhile, students at Christenberry Elementary celebrated the installation of an outdoor classroom, a project that was supported by Keep Knoxville Beautiful; local contractor Matt Sterling; and home improvement chain Lowe’s.
Both projects were facilitated by the Great Schools Partnership, a nonprofit organization that is funded by public and private-sector dollars and aims to connect private-sector organizations with KCS.
Maynard and Christenberry are community schools, which means they serve as a neighborhood hub and offer services to support student learning and health; family engagement; and safer neighborhoods.
Adrien Jones, the Great Schools Partnership’s site resource coordinator at Maynard, said the food pantry and community library are good examples of what a community school can offer.
“We strive for our school to be viewed as a hub within its community,” Jones said. “So any needs, any gaps with families, we hope that they recognize our school as a place that you can come and fill those needs … so that the children are at their best to learn.”
At Christenberry, the outdoor classroom is comprised of a wooden frame around a raised platform, with a fabric covering on top to provide shade from the sun.
Kristen Jaggers, the Great Schools Partnership’s site coordinator at Christenberry, said there’s value in learning outside and highlighted the importance of partnerships for the school: “It was such a collaborative effort, a community effort, to bring these partners in together to make this project happen for us,” she said.
Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes this blog, Hall Pass, for the KCS website. This entry was originally posted April 23, 2019.