December 15, 2000
Shown above are left Barbara Keen, human resources manager, Perdue Farms Inc., Dr. Don Ford, superintendent, Harrisonburg City Schools; Scott Bradford, human resources manager, Tyson Foods, Inc.; Mr. Jim Keeler, CEO, WLR Foods,Inc., Dr. John Kidd, superintendent, Rockingham County Schools; and Mr. George Pace, CEO, Rocco
In an innovative partnership initiative, the four local poultry companies have agreed to help fund two new English as a Second Language teaching initiatives in the local school systems. Rocco Enterprises, Inc., WLR Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Inc., and Perdue Farms Inc. have joined forces to help the local school systems better meet the challenge of teaching immigrant children.
Harrisonburg City Schools and Rockingham County Schools submitted grant proposals to the local poultry industry. The Harrisonburg City Schools proposal centers on offering an 18-week English acquisition class two evenings each week for limited English-proficient middle/high school students and their parents/guardians. The class will be held at Harrisonburg High School in two fully equipped ESL language labs.
The Rockingham County Schools proposal involves piloting a Community/Workplace Liaison (CWL) program to address the specific needs of immigrant teen-age students who have no English-speaking skills (Non-English Speaking, or NES), and those who have very limited English-speaking skills (Limited English Speaking, or LES). The goal is to improve the achievement of all NES and LES high school students.
Total grant money for the first year is $31,000, which will be equally divided between the two school systems. Representatives from the poultry companies will review the results of the first year of each of these programs, and decide whether to continue funding at a decreased level. The original poultry grant proposal calls for full funding the first year, with decreased funding for the next four years, contingent upon approval by the local poultry industry.
Dr. John Kidd shares his remarks about the grant with the audience.
According to Rocco Chief Executive Officer George Pace, "Rocco has partnered with local schools over the years in many different initiatives. We are pleased to assist in funding these new, creative approaches designed to help immigrant families in our community to learn the English language, and, in so doing, improve their quality of life."
Jim Keeler, Chief Executive Officer, WLR Foods, notes, "We are pleased that the local poultry industry can work with our local school systems to provide financial incentives for new and innovative English language skills development programs at the high school level. We believe both of these projects will make a difference in the lives of students and their parents."
General Manager Danny Sutton of Tyson Foods, adds, "We are very pleased to join in this initiative. We take great pride in working with our local communities, as well as with our team members. These ESL projects will help to enhance communications among many different groups, both in our communities and within our work environment. By working together, we create stronger communities, which benefits everyone."
Sid Schultz, Director of Operations, Perdue Farms Inc., Bridgewater Plant, notes, "Perdue feels proud to partner with other poultry companies in supporting the two new innovative English as a Second Language programs in our local schools. This initiative is a positive approach in overcoming communications barriers and will improve the quality of life in our community and work environments."
Dr. Don Ford, superintendent, Harrisonburg City Schools, adds, "The mandate for public schools is to educate all children who come to us. The growing number of immigrant children in our schools who speak little or no English presents a significant challenge to our teachers. We appreciate the local poultry companies, who employ many of the parents of these children, stepping forward to say, 'We want to help.'"
Dr. John Kidd, superintendent, Rockingham County Schools, says, "We are very pleased to work with the different poultry companies to enable some of our students to improve their language skills. It is a great plus for us and the community in general to be able to offer such a program!"
Nancy Mast explains details of the grant
The four local poultry companies take pride in being good corporate citizens in their local communities. In addition to donating thousands of dollars to the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County United Way, the local poultry industry also leads the way in fund raising for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake each year. Volunteer hours, financial donations, and product donations are only a few of the numerous ways in which the industry supports the local community. The poultry industry is proud to partner with the school systems on working together in helping immigrant families and children who are new to our communities.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Patricia May, Rocco, 540-568-1413
Ray Atkinson, WLR Foods, 540-896-0406
Barbara Keen, Perdue Farms Inc., 540-828-7760
Scott Bradford, Tyson Foods, Inc., 540-433-0720 Ext. 220
Dr. Don Ford, Harrisonburg City Schools, 540-434-9916
Dr. John Kidd, Rockingham County Schools, 540-564-3200
Dr. Bob Grimesey and Dr. Ray Cubbage discussing grant
Back to RCPS Home Page