The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) presented First Presbyterian Church Greenville with the Champions for Public Education Award during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Chuck Saylors, president of SCSBA, presented the association’s award to Mrs. Beth Simmons, Dr. Richard Gibbons, and Reverend Brian Stewart from First Presbyterian Greenville.
“This program is a model for what is done well in faith-based communities working in our public schools,” said Saylors. “I would encourage other faith-based programs across the state to use their program as an example of what truly works for schools.”
For 10 years, representatives from First Presbyterian Church Greenville have built strong partnerships with students, staff, and families at Hollis Elementary School, one of the district’s high-poverty schools located in an economically disadvantaged area.
More than 200 volunteers nurture the capacity of parents by modeling behavior and providing assistance to families. Parents now assume leadership roles on the PTA, SIC and planning committees alongside First Presbyterian volunteers. The efforts of First Presbyterian Church Greenville have encouraged other partnerships, such as the Christmas store they run along with volunteers from Greater Mount Cavalry Baptist Church, and an annual coat drive held in partnership with Christ Church Episcopal School.
Due to transportation issues or work schedules, many Hollis parents are unable to volunteer in classrooms or chaperone field trips. To address this need, church members volunteer as room parents, providing assistance and support to three dozen classrooms. They also provide teachers with appreciation luncheons.
First Presbyterian Church Greenville Named Champion for Public Education
First Presbyterian’s partnership with Hollis Elementary has resulted in better meeting student’s needs, encouraging parent engagement in the school and community, and supporting staff so they are better able to focus on teaching.