Classroom Connections joins businesses and students, increasing achievement levels

From WTXL ABC 27

Investing in the future; that’s what’s bringing the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Leon County Schools together. Classroom Connection is preparing the youngest community members for success.

Tallahassee business owners are going back to class, but this time they’re bringing a lesson plan.

“It will be something that our students will be able to remember throughout their school career. That the community came beside me to make sure ‘I can be the best that I can be’,” said Riley Elementary School Principal April Knight.

Classroom Connections is putting businesses with kindergarten classrooms to help them learn, take them on virtual field trips, and be mentors.

Jay Smith serves as the Ajax Building Company Vice-President and the Greater Chamber Board of Directors Chair. He’s one of more than 25 businesses to join the partnership.

“It’s about time. It’s being in the classroom, reading to the class, talking to them about your business and what you do in the community, what opportunities you have within your company and what’s going on outside of just their little classroom,” said Smith.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is currently focusing on getting students ready for the workforce by increasing grades. Their focus is on early intervention to make sure children are up to speed by the third grade.

“The numbers start telling you that the earlier you get engaged, the better. The kindergartner readiness is a first opportunity for us to see what their achievement success is,” he said.

This school year could prove more challenging. Leon County Schools says last school year, many parents opted to sit their rising kindergartners out due to the pandemic. Now about 3,000 kindergartners will be coming in for Fall 2021. That means the extra support from business owners will mean even more.

“It’s definitely wonderful to know that the community is coming and wrapping their arms around our faculty, our staff, our students to make sure we’re successful and our students are increasing achievement levels,” said Principal Knight.

LCS will have about 170 kindergarten classes in the fall. The Chamber is now asking you to reach out to them to make sure every single one has a business partner.