Spotlight shines on national mentor expert - September 09, 2006

Record Number: 2609
Displayed from: Sep 11, 2006 , until: Sep 15, 2006

More than 250 volunteers, business leaders and community partners of Fort Wayne Community Schools' nationally recognized tutoring program, Study Connection, will have an opportunity to hear the words of author Dr. Susan Weinberger, who is nationally recognized for her expertise in establishing, maintaining and evaluating school and community-based partnership programs. Study Connection will begin its 18th year with its Annual Celebration and Recognition Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., Sept. 15 in the Johnny Appleseed Room in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Dr. Weinberger is president of Mentor Consulting Group in Norwalk, Co. She is the author of several books on mentoring and is the chair of the Public Policy Council and a board member of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. In 1993, she received the Volunteer Action Award from President Bill Clinton. Dr. Weinberger became involved with education/community partnerships when she was working as an office administrator for an urban school district more than two decades ago. She observed many youth who seemed unmotivated and unchallenged. When she asked teachers why, the most pervasive answer was, "These kids do not have a support system, a consistent adult in their lives." She approached local companies and asked them to release employees for one hour a week to be mentors. Pepperidge Farm led the way by becoming the first company to sign up. Since then, her passion to connect youth with positive adult role models has turned into a full-time career. Study Connection began in 1989 by Don Wolf, retired CEO and president emeritus of Do it Best Corp. Volunteers are matched one-to-one with FWCS students who are in need of extra academic assistance. Students and volunteers meet weekly after-school for one hour during the school year. Eighty-five percent of the students are bused to and from local businesses for their tutoring sessions. The program was one of three programs highlighted at the 1998 All-America City competition in which Fort Wayne was one of 10 cities across the country to receive this designation. Study Connection has been replicated in other cities across the nation, including Clinton, Iowa, where the Governor recognized it as the 2000 Volunteer Program of the Year. At the breakfast, awards will be presented to the 2006 Volunteer of the Year and the 2006 Student of the Year. The breakfast is by invitation only. Media are invited to cover the event.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.