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DeKalb Chamber, school district host school tour for business leaders
by LaTria Garnigan
April 01, 2014 09:56 AM | 3005 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Michael Thurmond and Leonardo McClarty after the Seeing is Believing school tour last week.
From left, Michael Thurmond and Leonardo McClarty after the Seeing is Believing school tour last week.
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Two busloads full of city leaders, business professionals, school board members and media toured schools last week as part of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and DeKalb County School District’s Seeing is Believing tour.

“What you will see is the future of DeKalb, Georgia and America,” said Superintendent Michael Thurmond before the tour.

“We have one of the most diverse student populations in Georgia, if not the Southeastern U.S. Our diversity and challenges have presented us with a unique opportunity to transform public education.”

In a statement sent out to chamber members the week before, chamber President Leonardo McClarty said, “Local education plays a vital role in economic development, both in business recruitment and business retention. Moreover, we know there is a direct correlation to superior scholastic achievement in communities where business is allowed in education. We believe that we have identified one of many ways to involve business in our school system.”

Each bus toured three schools. The Region 2 bus visited Midvale Elementary, Tucker Middle and Tucker High schools. The Region 5 bus visited the DeKalb Early College Academy, Towers and Columbia high schools.

During the school tours, visitors heard from principals, teachers and students about the different programs offered, along with ways the business community and schools could benefit from working together.

At Tucker Middle, visitors heard from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] coordinator Stephen Csukas about the different ways students were being exposed to technology, thanks to partnerships with Marten Transport, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, Georgia Tech and more.

In their technology suite, students have the capability to use computers to design a 3D model of a Lego block, and with a 3D printer, have the ability to print the Lego block to their exact specifications.

Tour participants walked away with a different view of the schools and a charge from each administration to reach out and assist in partnerships for the betterment of the students.

After the tour, Thurmond said the school district needed to reestablish a foundation to improve partnerships with the business community and that the outlook was great to do so.

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