Duke Energy Foundation has awarded the City of Apopka with the first-ever grant for an educational initiative that seeks to create a brighter future for Apopka-area schools.
Duke Energy – one of the country’s leading electric providers with 7.4 million customers in six states – is providing $9,500 to support Apopka Begins & Ends With A. The grant is the first-ever cash award for the program, which the City launched in October 2015. The city program seeks to help Apopka schools work toward achieving an “A” rating from the state of Florida through a program of focused community involvement into educational activities. The program’s goals are to improve student outcomes as well as the perception of Apopka-area schools. Overall, the City’s long-term objective is to increase Apopka’s prospects for economic development.
Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer said: “I am very grateful for Duke’s support for this innovative and worthy program. Apopka Begins & Ends With ‘A’ is about getting our community to embrace education as a broad-based, city-wide theme. We have a great opportunity to work together to improve the performance and perception of our schools. Over the long haul, that will make Apopka more attractive to new businesses and new families. Better schools in Apopka will lead to more and higher-paying jobs as well as more opportunities and greater economic prosperity.”
The program currently has Community Action Teams at Lovell and Rock Springs Elementary schools that meet monthly to discuss how the community support each school. The CATs include business and civic leaders, parents, PTA members and school staff who collaborate on educational support initiatives. The goal is to expand to five schools for the 2016-17 school year and to include all Apopka schools the following year.
“Duke Energy is committed to helping ensure our communities have the resources and support they need to thrive,” said Debbie Clements, Duke Energy Government & Community Relations Manager. “We hope our investment helps Apopka build on the success of this program and motivates other businesses to engage in this meaningful work.”
Apopka Begins and Ends with “A” is organized in coordination with Orange County Public Schools. The program is intended as a community-based complement to OCPS efforts, rallying grass-roots support from the Apopka community to improve public schools in and around Orange County’s second largest city.
Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said, “The program that the City of Apopka created strategically aligns with our vision to be the top producer of successful students in the nation as well as our mission to lead our students to success with the support and involvement of families and the community. The grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will be extremely beneficial to students and teachers as the program continues to expand.”
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