"You build up the community by building up the people," said Angela Walker, director of the Anniston Community Education Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students in the PCB-impacted areas of west Anniston and in Anniston City Schools. It's funded through Solutia, which grants it hundreds of thousands of dollars for education-based programs.
Anniston High Principal Sherron Jinadu said she plans to apply for grants to offer more programs to freshman in hopes of improving the graduation rate. She said examples could be programs for mentoring or helping kids interact with business leaders.
Jennifer Sims and Denise Parker are parent specialists at Randolph Park Elementary and Anniston Middle, respectively.
They said they attended because they want to collaborate on writing grants to start classes to educate parents about the happenings within the school system or how they can go onto the Internet to access tools, such as a virtual library, to share in their kids' education.
"If the parents know how to use technology, they can, in turn, help children," she said.
Added Parker: "We're always looking for ways to expand our job responsibilities."