New location. Same Mission.
In 1994, Partners in Education was founded by the Toledo Rotary with the mission for “student success through community engagement.” The idea was to connect local businesses with schools in order to support, mentor, and volunteer. With career-readiness programs, field trips to colleges and business, and volunteer training programs, PIE has flourished and has become known as an “innovator and incubator for new program models that improve pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade student academic achievement and personal well-being.” (Partners in Education) “We look for partnerships in the community so that we can share resources, build programs, and work together to help Toledo-area students,” explained Brooke Schlageter, PIE’s Executive Director.
PIE is funded through both corporate and individual donors, the Department of Job and Family Services, United Way and Toledo Rotary, along with other grants and fundraising sources.
The programs PIE offers have had a huge impact on students. Teachers have said the students love going to the mentoring sessions, and that they always see reading progress. “The program is a huge hit,” one teacher said. “My students begged to go!” Another teacher discussed not only the academic impact it had on students, but the emotional one as well: “They would come back to class beaming when they had a good session, and I know that made them feel very special.”
Over the years, PIE had an office space due to the support of Toledo Public Schools. However, PIE outgrew the space and in June moved to 709 Madison Avenue, where the organization will continue to work with the community to help local students.
Schlageter explained that Toledo Public Schools were gracious to offer space for PIE to flourish, but with a new Board President (Andy Spahr), and Schlageter as Executive Director, the organization saw an opportunity for a new beginning. “This move has given us a great opportunity to re-envision what the future of PIE looks like and make even more community connections,” Schlageter said.
Over the course of 28 years, PIE’s programs might have shifted and changed, but “students have always been at the center of what we do,” explained Schlageter. This fall, PIE looks forward to continuing its main programs, Mentors in Toledo Schools, which “focuses on increasing literacy skills for students K-3.” This program pairs a student one-on-one with a trained mentor in order to meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
PIE will also continue its College and Career Ready, Set, Go! Program that “offers opportunities for students to build skills and learn about college and career readiness in preparation for postsecondary opportunities in education or in the workforce.”
Schlageter explained that PIE also co-chairs the Northwest Ohio After School Alliance which focuses on afterschool and summer programming so students can maintain academic progress and continue to be enriched academically, socially, and emotionally.
This year, PIE will launch a pilot program that combines literacy and social-emotional growth with outdoor education. “What I love most about this program is the collaboration with Mosaic Ministries, Toledo Museum of Art, The Toledo Zoo, and Toledo’s MetroParks,” Schlageter said. “The collective impact model really speaks to PIE’s mission.”
The programs PIE offers affects the mentors as well. One mentor said he signed up assuming this was solely for the benefit of the students, but found that it was “fuel for the soul.”
Another mentor expressed, “What a joy this has been. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to work with kids! It fills my heart.”
PIE looks forward to continuing its work in the lives of Toledo-area students. Schlageter added that “sometimes a whole class of students have their hands raised when we walk in, hoping to be selected to come with us.”
The organization is always looking for volunteers, including the following:
To learn more about PIE, visit their website, partnerstoledo.org.