As part of the DeKalb Partners in Education program,
Emory signed partnership agreements with two area schools at a March
25 ceremony attended by more than 150 school principals, parents,
students and business representatives.
Emory signed partnerships with Shamrock Middle and Cary Reynolds
Elementary, two schools with which the University has had informal
ties for some time. The signing, which was attended by staff from
Emory’s Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, the
Institute for Comparative and International Studies (ICIS) and faculty
from the Spanish and Portuguese department, makes those relationships
official and should lead to expanded programming options on both
sides of the team. The ceremony, which featured 28 DeKalb County
schools, took place at the DeKalb Instructional Center.
The Partners in Education Program brings together business and community
organizations throughout the county to work with faculty, staff
and students to enrich education in DeKalb. The addition of two
new schools increases Emory’s partnerships to four; the University
has been a longtime partner of Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills
At Shamrock Middle, students from educational studies have taught
classes, and several Emory employees have volunteered as tutors
and mentors, said Governmental and Community Affairs’ Patrice
Grimes. Joseph Cadray, senior lecturer in educational studies, led
a developmental workshop for Shamrock’s teachers, as well.
That effort led Emory to pursue formalizing its relationship with
Shamrock, Grimes said.
Now that Emory and Shamrock are official partners, a goal is to
expand the volunteer tutor program. “The idea of tutors and
mentors is a major initiative with Shamrock,” said Tom Davis,
the school’s principal. “Kids love adult attention,
and it’s shown that mentoring improves attendance, academics
Davis added that Shamrock also will team with Druid Hills as part
of an International Baccalaureate Program, a highly demanding curriculum
that prepares students for college work. The schools are in the
midst of the two-year application process.
Cary Reynolds is the most international elementary school in the
state, and much of Emory’s ties to it have been cultural.
Emory students sponsor and take part in cultural programming, and
for three semesters students in Senior Lecturer Vialla Hartfield-Méndez’s
classes have served as Spanish literacy mentors, working with both
students and their parents—many of whom speak no English.
Hartfield-Méndez said, once transportation has been confirmed,
her students will serve as hosts and accompany Cary Reynolds students
and parents to the April 5 International Cultural Festival on campus.
“It’s great to be able to introduce students to a college
atmosphere,” said Cary Reynolds Principal Melanie Bilda. “Many
of them will be the first generation of their family to go to college,
and it’s important for them to see what it’s like.”
For several semesters, Emory study-abroad students have gone to
Cary Reynolds to work with students. ICIS outreach coordinator Alta
Schwartz said because of the many languages spoken by Cary Reynolds
students, Emory foreign-language students were able to keep their
The hour-long March 25 ceremony, which featured welcoming remarks
from Jacquelyn Anthony, director of community affairs, was filled
with good cheer. School principals, parents and representatives
from the diverse array of new partners (ranging from the Alliance
Theatre to Chick-Fil-A, to AMF Stone Mountain Lanes to Emory) shared
in the upbeat attitude.
“What can be more important than taking care of a child?”
said DeKalb County School Superintendent Johnny Brown, who spoke
briefly to the new partners. “By your presence this morning,
you all understand the importance of partnership.”