PENCIL Schools Partnership Turns 15 in New York
New York's mighty PENCIL, one of the nation's pioneering business-school partnerships, turned 15 this month.
The quaintly named partnership program, which includes Macy's, Bloomberg, Cisco, Wachovia, and 500 other businesses, marked its 15th anniversary the other day with a "Principal for a Day" event. (Yes, the partnership goes both ways. In April, school principals shadow their corporate mentors to become "Business Leaders for a Day.") The organization's "relationship managers" also help business leaders to work with individual schools and in their neighborhoods throughout the school year.
Partners tend to be high-level individuals in corporations and community business leaders who volunteer time and expertise to help specific schools. For example, Macy's—whose chairman Terry Lundgren is a partner—has worked with the Life Sciences Secondary School in East Harlem, PS 59 in midtown Manhattan, and East Side Community High School, also in Manhattan.
"To create real change in our public schools, there must be strong involvement from and engagement with the private sector," Michael Haberman, the president of PENCIL, said earlier this month.
Joel Klein, the city's schools chancellor, praised PENCIL "for its work over the years to focus our businesses' resources in the city's schools, where together, students, parents, educators and business people are making a real difference."