Elementary School Business Partnership
ENSTAR Natural Gas Company and Willow Crest Elementary School
Alicia Luna, Executive Administrative Assistant
ENSTAR has worked to support Willow Crest Elementary for many years during the holiday season. ENSTAR initiated the partnership and offered to supply a pizza lunch to the entire school, and more importantly, multiple books for EVERY child within our building. Many of our students do not have the opportunity to read books at home and ENSTAR has sought to share the love of reading with our students during the holiday season through the gift of books.
Willow Crest Elementary is a Title 1 school with a high percentage of students who come from families in need. With this in mind, our entire student body is on free and reduced lunch in order to supplement their nutritional needs. Many of our students also struggle academically due to lack of exposure and do not have appropriate resources at home to support academic progress. ENSTAR has seen these struggles and stepped up to the plate in order to support our student body in both areas. Each holiday season they not only provide a full pizza lunch for the entire student body as a send off for the holiday season, but they also work tirelessly to collect age-appropriate books to donate to every student in our school. Many do not realize it, but the holiday season can bring quite a bit of stress to families and students as routines and structures that come with daily schooling are not present. The support that ENSTAR provides during this time of year allows for a slight respite of those concerns and allows students to enter into the holiday season with full stomachs and an eagerness to learn with the new books provided.
ENSTAR’s commitment to Willow Crest is the epitome of community involvement and support. ENSTAR has supported our community for years during our annual Books and Blankets event. This event has become well known throughout the community as we work with the support of our business partners and neighbors to provide our students with the comfort of a blanket, as well as the opportunity to read and keep books that they normally would not have access to. It is incredibly evident that ENSTAR works tirelessly well before the event to collect hundreds of books. This effort is not only appreciated by our staff and students, but is a model to other business partners, many of whom have also stepped up to support in this event due ENSTAR's example. ENSTAR's energy, compassion and excitement to support our school community hugely impacts the district, as they support an event that brightens the lives of our students, but also inspires others to make a difference as well. ENSTAR imbues the characteristics of kindness and compassion.
Secondary School Business Partnership
Alaska Dinner Factory and Polaris K-12
Linnea Cummings, Owner
Alaska Dinner Factory (ADF) has partnered with us for more than 10 years. Our teachers approached the business when it opened since the company was in our area. We have been partners ever since. Over the years the relationship has grown and developed.
Our secondary students will go to the business as a field trip during intensives and are given an overview of the business, career opportunities and career pathways. ADF drops off food for staff often. After the earthquake the business came and brought the staff breakfast. Alaska Dinner Factory supports our staff and student community. They make food donations whenever needed and are always happy to support our programs when welcoming our students on site to prepare food for an event like prom or offering a discount for the Polaris community. Linnea provides a free meal for the Polarian award winner. Students get a chance to see how a small business works. Alaska Dinner Factory shares job opening opportunities for students.
We recognize the business in our school newsletter, on our SBP banner that is hung during school-wide activities. We recognize our partners at events and have recognized Alaska Dinner Factory as SBP of the month. We appreciate the years of service, the delicious food and the support of Alaska Dinner Factory.
Educator of Tomorrow
Child in Transition Program,
Anchorage School District
For more than 30 years, Barb Dexter has worked to connect homeless students to support they need to be as stable as possible at school while living in impossibly unstable situations. Barb is also at the heart of a pivotal collaboration that has helped to level the educational playing field for high school students at the highest risk of not graduating; a program that is also helping to increase the graduation rate: Back on Track. United Way of Anchorage, Covenant House Alaska and ASD’s Child in Transition Department partnered on this expansion for day, evening and summer credit recovery classes. Nothing happens in Back on Track without Barb; she is at the heart of this program, which has served more than 1393 high school students in its 6 years and supported over 806 seniors in earning a diploma. Back on Track students are economically disadvantaged and many are homeless. Some are kids Barb coaxed back after dropping out, or slipped and continued to lag, lacking a support system, and lacking hope. Barb builds relationships with the students and keeps tabs on them. Didn’t show up for school? Expect a call from Barb. She also oversees program staff and connection of kids to community-based services to address barriers to learning imposed by life instability outside school. Eyeglasses, birth certificate, food, health care, support finding rental assistance—whatever the issue, they get help. Back on Track students are now not only graduating, they are making plans for the future and launching with promise. Barb is working day and night to ensure they do.
In 2013, Barb was awarded the BP & YWCA Women of Achievement Award for leadership and excellence in professional and personal endeavors and contributions to the community. In 2009, Barb received a citation from the Alaska State Legislature commending her for tireless work for homeless and foster youth. She is also a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Key Women Educators and former Chair of the National Association of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Scholarship Committee. She has provided training at the national, state and local levels on unaccompanied youth, homeless children and youth in the child welfare system, migrant and homeless youth, and statewide training for school district liaisons on McKinney‐Vento legislation.
Barb has also been known to spend her own money and miles on college travel and supplies for homeless graduates.
Jewel Lake Tastee Freez
Rich Owens has been a major supporter of School Business Partnerships for 32 years. As a board or honorary board member, he has served for 25 years on the Anchorage School Business Partnerships Board of Directors. His experience as a business owner and a compassionate community leader has helped shape the organization and in turn, supported others to engage in schools and SBP. Rich has been a leader in the community with quiet integrity, contributing goods, services, and time for many years.
Having had long-standing partnerships with four elementary, one middle school and two high schools, Rich has perfected a recipe for success. He has been willing to share his enthusiasm for community service, learning and employment possibilities. He has looked for ways to bring the schools into his small business, like hosting a “school take-over” where school staff take over restaurant operations for a few hours each year, part of the proceeds are donated back to the school, it’s a learning opportunity for everyone. Schools have been able to display student artwork in the restaurant. In addition to fundraising opportunities Rich has mentored students in high school on job skills, job interviews and provided advice on resumes and appropriate work behavior. Integrity and a strong work ethic have been lessons he has been sharing with youth and adults for years. Rich has been an outstanding example of how a small business owner with a big heart can make a major impact in our community.
Anchorage School Business Partnerships is excited that the Superintendent Award is being presented to honor Rich Owens.
Board of Directors Award
Kaladi Brothers Coffee has been a Catalyst for Community and supported Anchorage Schools for many years. The Red Goat logo is recognized by schools throughout the district Kaladi is generous in supporting not only staff appreciation events but also helps schools raise funds and supports programs and special events. The staff at Kaladi provide café training and support services to middle and high schools throughout the district. Each school year, sometimes twice a year, Kaladi provides training on equipment use, equipment safety, equipment operation, and barista training. Kaladi staff are able to career exploration activities for classrooms and other activities to help youth in schools see the opportunities available in small business and manufacturing. Kaladi is fully invested in our community and believes in supporting our schools and the potential of our youth.