On March 1, more than 90 people attended the 2nd Queen Creek Unified School District (QCUSD) CAFÉ, a community and family engagement event. The purpose of the CAFÉ is to connect QCUSD schools to community leaders with a goal of building sustainable partnerships that support our students. CAFÉ invitees were from local businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations.
The CAFÉ event was held in the QCUSD Governing Board room at the district office. Each QCUSD school had a table decorated to show school spirit. Sitting at the table were the site principal, other district personnel, parents and community leaders. Each attendee was personally invited by the principal with the intent that the connection would in some way benefit their school.
“Queen Creek Unified has tremendous partnerships between the schools and community. However, sometimes you see business and industry and faith-based partners wanting to give back to the schools and schools needing those partnerships but there is not a true structure to bring them together. So I felt like that is really what the CAFÉ structure did for us in Queen Creek”, said QCUSD Superintendent Perry Berry.
Superintendent Berry implemented the CAFÉ structure after attending the 2017 Arizona School Connect Summit. He left the conference believing a CAFÉ would benefit an already existing partnership that QCUSD is working to nurture.
The first QCUSD CAFÉ was held September 8, 2017. All school leaders left the event with new connections that were immediately put to use for Love our Schools Day projects. Love our Schools Day was held at most Queen Creek Schools on September 30, 2017. Projects included campus clean-up, repairs, and painting. However, the CAFÉ structure goes beyond the four walls of a school.
“I think it is vital the community is connected to the education system. At the end of the day, it is the future employment base of our Town,” said Derek Neighbors, Co-founder of Queen Creek business Gangplank. “So if we are not preparing the students to be successful, not only are businesses going to suffer, so are the actual municipalities because the opportunity is not going to be there for success.”
“We were invited to give input which is thrilling to me,” said Andrew Reed, Pastor at South Hills Baptist Church. “Our desire is to work with them to impact our community and make it a better place.”
The 3rd QCUSD CAFÉ will be held September 6, 2018.