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Jax Daily Record Friday, Aug. 29, 200812:00 PM EST

Downtown Council Education Committee partners with Landon

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by: Mary Kate Roan

by Mary-Kate Roan

Staff Writer

The Jacksonville Downtown Council Education Committee has announced a partnership with Landon College Preparatory and Leadership Development School for the 2008-09 school year.

“The Education Committee and the Downtown Council see this as a great opportunity to partner with the leadership program at Landon,” said Cynthia Farmer, who co-chairs the Educational Committee along with Bill Laird.

There are three basic points that the partnership between the leadership school for middle grades and Downtown businesses will focus on, starting with mentoring and tutoring.

“There are plenty of mentoring opportunities out there,” said Farmer. “But we want to be there for these children for the entire year and offer to them real world help.”

Farmer added that “at-risk” students at the school will be offered tutoring from members of the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Perhaps the biggest portion of the partnership is that the Downtown Council will be helping with the multimedia program for eighth grade students.

“The eighth graders will be doing a public service announcement to be judged by panels of professional journalists throughout Jacksonville,” said Farmer.

The panels will consist of three or four people who will offer constructive criticism to the groups and will be made up of a combination of business representatives and journalists. From there, the students will have the opportunity to adjust their announcement in any way before receiving their final grade.

“The best of the best will present their final announcements to the Downtown Council in April and be part of a ‘red carpet gala’ that will feature their announcements in May,” said Farmer.

After the event in May, the best public service announcement will be chosen with the winner receiving a plaque to go in the school featuring the group’s names.

The Downtown Council is also sponsoring what is being called “Take Over Day” where members of the Downtown Council will meet with students to discuss their businesses and the role that leadership has had on them. They also helped with Landon’s orientation by greeting students and their families as they arrived for orientation.

“We want the parents to see that this is more than their child going to school,” said Farmer. “It goes beyond the classroom to bring real world experiences to the classroom.”

Landon faculty members were there for the Downtown Council’s traditional “Paint the Paws” event, during which big yellow and teal paw prints are painted on Bay Street from the Main Street Bridge to the stadium.

“Many of our faculty members decided to join the Paint the Paws event as a way to show our appreciation to the Downtown Chamber of Commerce for their support of our new program,” said Landon Principal Dr. Kelly Coker-Davis.

On Sept. 9 the Downtown Council Education Committee will hold a meeting at Raymond James on Riverplace Boulevard. The meeting will feature the Landon partnership.

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