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Gainesville schools, Brenau form partnership
Alliance will help students further their education
Gainesville school Superintendent Merrianne Dyer and Brenau University President Ed Schrader sign an agreement Tuesday that will create a partnership between Brenau and the school system. - photo by Tom Reed

Brenau University and Gainesville City Schools have inked a deal that will be beneficial to both groups of students.

Tuesday afternoon, administrators met to sign paperwork making the Gainesville-Brenau Alliance official. The purpose of the alliance is to increase collaboration opportunities between the two organizations.

“The partnership will provide both of our institutions the ability to apply curriculum and standards to real-world experiences,” said Merrianne Dyer, Gainesville schools superintendent.

“The students of Brenau need authentic internship experiences, which we can provide. The students of Gainesville City Schools need to see and relate to quality individuals who are applying math and science, as well as communication and problem-solving skills.”

Among other things, the objective of the partnership is to improve science, math and technology instruction and education. Officials hope the partnership helps to prepare more students to join health and human service industries, which are in high demand in Northeast Georgia, said Brenau President Ed Schrader.

The partnership will help to bring more technology into the elementary and middle school classrooms and it also provides for an early enrollment program for high school students that are ready to begin taking college-level courses.

To help make the alliance work, the entities will work to provide expanded, professional learning opportunities for Brenau and Gainesville educators as well as apply for various grants to improve programs. The systems will also collaborate on a shared laboratory space that can be used by both Brenau nursing students and Gainesville students. The partners plan to establish a Health and Human Services Career Center at Gainesville’s Wood’s Mill Academy.

The contract period began with the signing of the document Tuesday and will end on April 12, 2011. The contract will automatically be renewed after that point for one-year intervals, until either party decides to terminate the alliance.

“Preparing our students to enter the work force to meet future demands, particularly in health care professions, begins on the first day a child enters school,” Dyer said.

“By increasing the rigor and purpose of learning from pre-K to grade 12 and by engaging in this partnership, we can together develop students who are college-ready.”