PartnerCorps members from Knox Central High School and Leslie County High School are being recognized for their service to public education.
Word of the recognition was originally leaked during a meeting in Leslie County on August 31 when the CEO of of the Corporation for National Community Service, Wendy Spencer, visited with PartnerCorps members.
PartnerCorps, also known as AmeriCorps members, serve as mentors and advocates for students in high poverty and low-performing areas. In 2013, Berea College won a three-year School Turnaround AmeriCorps grant which provides funding for the members to work with students at Knox Central and Leslie County High.
During her visit to Leslie County High, PartnerCorps members from both high schools were commended for their work in improving student success and changing the culture and mindset about education in the schools that they serve.
Official announcement of their recognition did not come until September 18 from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa) joined the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to present the inaugural Tom Harkin Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards to five AmeriCorps members from across the country and programs including the Berea College PartnerCorps.
“Every day across the country, AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers tackle tough problems and strengthen communities,” said Ted Miller, Chief of External Affairs, in the official bulletin from the cooperation.
“These dedicated men and woman who are committed to getting things done for America deserve special recognition.”
Berea College PartnerCorps received the award for Best New Program Design. Since its inception, PartnerCorps members have provided more than 30,000 hours of service, mentoring students, and providing behavior and attendance assistance. Both schools have seen significantly improved in academic achievement and school attendance since PartnerCorps was introduced to the community.
Forty individuals were recruited and placed as PartnerCorps, AmeriCorps members, in the two high schools. Members commit to serve for one year in Knox or Leslie counties at the high school and focus on improving educational outcomes, serving as mentors, college advisors and family connectors. Each day, they arrive at school with the first students and remain at school until the last student leaves. They strive to create college-going cultures in their high schools.
About Berea College’s Partners for Education
Partners for Education at Berea College utilizes a place based, student focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky. We braid services and align funding streams to optimize results. Through a suite of programs, including GEAR UP, i3 and the first rural Promise Neighborhood, Partners for Education leverages $18 million annually to serve 15,000 young people and their families.