Pineville HS partners with local businesses to enhance student literacy skills

Published 11:34 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023


Students at Pineville High School are benefiting from a collaboration between Partners for Rural Impact and local businesses. Through PRI Appalachia’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy, each grade level at Pineville High School will be sponsored by a local business in corporate mentorship, job experience and skill building.

The program aims to accelerate literacy outcomes from birth to career. Literacy, in this sense, goes beyond reading and writing to include the skills necessary to navigate the complexities of a 21st century world. Skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication are fundamental in preparing students for economic mobility. Partnering with local businesses will empower students with hands-on learning while serving their communities.

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“One thing that I have learned through my numerous types of employment and civic duties is the need for relationships,” said Pineville Community Literacy Coordinator, Shannon Elliott. “In order to foster that in our students and business community, I began to try to figure out how to have both groups truly invested. That is when the idea of a mentorship took shape.”

When presented with the idea, businesses were eager to be a part of shaping students’ futures and preparing them for the workforce. By having one designated sponsor for each class—referring to all students in a grade-level—students and mentors can develop a close working relationship and create lasting connections.

Each class will also work with their sponsor to fundraise for their senior trip. One example of this model in action is the partnership between First State Bank of the Southeast and Pineville’s junior class. First State Bank will work with the juniors to invest fundraising profits and create budgets for events such as Prom and senior trip.

Students and sponsors alike are excited for this truly innovative approach to literacy and learning. To make participation even more rewarding, students will receive incentives from mentors for things such as attendance, grades, and overall performance on tests. Students are also encouraged to work alongside the employees of their sponsor companies on service projects.

Alongside First State Bank’s sponsorship of Pineville High School’s junior class, the first-year class will be sponsored by electrical company CHU-CON and the sophomore class by air ambulance service Air Evac. The sponsor for the senior class is yet to be confirmed.