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OUR OPINION: Education Matters! needs our support

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Last month, The Roane Alliance kicked off an effort to save a program that every Roane Countian should embrace.

The Education Matters! initiative is in danger because of substantial government funding cuts. It needs more support.

The aim of Education Matters! is to ensure every child in Roane County goes on to a post-secondary school … and does well when they do.

Here, according to The Roane Alliance, is why the program must be saved:
• Tennessee Scholars, part of the initiative, has increased the number of students graduating from high school with a rigorous academic course of study that prepares them for higher education and entering the workforce.

Since the program began in 2007, the number of students achieving the Tennessee Scholars standards has increased more than 65 percent.
• More than 2,000 juniors from the five Roane County high schools have attended Annual High School Career Day, a program initiative, to learn about a myriad of career opportunities. To prepare for the event, students received instruction on presenting themselves professionally — preparing résumés, interviewing, asking and answering questions, and dressing for success.

• Last year, 104 students in the initiative’s Roane Achieves program began classes at community colleges; 60 percent of them are first-generation college students. The 104 represent 25 percent of the 2012 graduating class from the five Roane County schools. Last year it had 21 mentors; this year it has 52 mentors.

• Internship Initiative: This program provides high school students the opportunity to learn about careers and provides employers an opportunity to educate, train and encourage our future workforce.

• Educators in the Workplace Lunch and Learn: Educators visit area businesses and learn ways to show students the relevance of what they teach in the classroom to workplace expectations and requirements.

• Teachers’ Supply Closet: This annual event provides needed school supplies to teachers and students.

• Roane County Employers’ Association provides monthly professional development sessions for area human resource and operations managers.

• Chamber/SCORE Workshops provide professional development training for employers and employees of local businesses and individuals.
Education Matters! is a coalition of programs and partnerships. Already these include Roane County Schools, Roane State Community College, Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman, the Roane Imagination Library, Children’s Reading Foundation, Roane Writers Group, and the Roane County United Way.

Contact Allen Lutz at The Roane Alliance, 376-2093,  to find out how you can help.