Starting in 2021, The Bonadio Group (TBG) partnered with the Syracuse City School District, a client of the firm’s audit practice, to create a program designed to improve attendance in the district, highlight the importance of education and promote careers in accounting and with TBG.
Jim McKenney, Principal in Bonadio’s Professional Excellence Division in the Syracuse office, started this program as a response to his wife, Sandra’s challenges with student attendance at her job as a fifth-grade teacher in the Syracuse City School District. Jim took this as an opportunity to fulfil his desire to get more involved in the community in a way that was meaningful to his personal and professional lives.
Sandra’s school, Seymour Elementary School, as well as the entire district, was challenged with poor attendance and low engagement rates because of COVID-19. Additionally, Sandra found that many of her students weren’t aware of the career opportunities available to them later in life.
“I hear stories every night about so many of my wife’s students that are extremely bright and full of potential, yet unaware of the great career paths that come with education,” said Jim.
Sandra and Jim decided to work together to create a program where students are rewarded for attendance and good behavior, while also learning about the importance of education and teamwork, and some of the potential careers they could pursue. Jim worked with TBG Partners to organize and fund the idea and was ultimately able to create a program with the Seymour Elementary School.
Last year, TBG sponsored a contest to encourage attendance and engagement. Students from each of the four fifth grade classes were monitored for attendance and behavior. Each month, the student from each class that showed the highest attendance, or most improvement in attendance and behavior, was chosen as the classroom winner and got to take home a gift card. During the last month, one winner was selected out of the four classroom winners for a larger prize to finish off the year.
However, this year, the program was set up a little differently. Rather than one student winning from each classroom, the program was turned into more of a team effort where a whole classroom would win each month with a classroom party as the prize. This approach encouraged teamwork and collaboration skills across the four classrooms.
In each of its variations, the program has been a huge success. Principal at Seymour Elementary School, James Nieves, noted that this partnership not only helps the students learn about job opportunities and different companies within the community, but it allows them to work on different skills needed to be successful in life.
“We are very happy to have this partnership for the second year in a row and we look forward to other opportunities for collaboration that highlight the importance of education for our students.”
Jim, and the others involved with the program, hope to continue to evolve and expand this program to more grades within Seymour Elementary School, and possibly other schools within the Syracuse City School District.
If you are interested in learning more about this partnership, don’t hesitate to reach out. And if you’d like to learn more about our overarching employee experience at TBG, including how we support the communities we live and work in, check out our Careers page today!
This material has been prepared for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Should you require any such advice, please contact us directly. The information contained herein does not create, and your review or use of the information does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship.