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Delta officially announced a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to improve the quality of education, with a focus on literacy, for the next generation of Delta customers and employees. The partnership includes a $500,000 donation over the span of five years.

More than 600 Delta people along with community leaders, APS Board Members and staff celebrated the historic partnership in the Delta Flight Museum on Thursday. An impressive line-up of Delta, APS and Atlanta leaders talked about how Delta and APS’s partnership can have a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of young people in the communities where Delta people live and serve.

This school year, Delta will focus specifically on two APS schools located in the South Atlanta cluster — Emma Hutchinson Elementary School and John Wesley Dobbs Elementary School — each only a few short miles from the Delta campus.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen took to the classroom-themed stage to share how important the public school issue is and how real the need is.

“Atlanta has the largest economic disparity in the world.  As a result, nearly 75 percent of students in APS live in poverty which exacerbates a child’s ability to learn,” Dr. Carstarphen said. “However, with great partners like Delta and its employee volunteers, we will not only change the life of a child and that child’s family, but also impact the culture of the school and the entire community.”

Dr. Carstarphen went on to compare the turnaround happening in Atlanta Public Schools to Delta’s historic turnaround and comeback from bankruptcy.

“We know Delta’s motto is Keep Climbing, but APS is currently crawling,” she joked. “However, in some areas, like literacy, we must begin climbing immediately. With the help of Delta and this partnership I’m sure we will be climbing soon.”

Delta makes financial investment in APS

“Our business has done well, and we believe the communities we call home should share in our success,” said Glen Hauenstein, President.

In addition to the $500,000 corporate donation, Delta employees around the system donated books from the APS recommended literacy list. To hold the more than 1,200 new books, Delta’s own TechOps team created four custom bookshelves crafted from recycled airplane parts. These stand-out creations will live in the libraries of the two partnership schools reminding the students that Delta supports their dreams.

The giving didn’t stop there. Delta officers, directors and employees participated in the giving as well and surprised APS team members with an additional donation of $312,200 which includes a $1 for $1 match from the Delta Air Lines Foundation’s Matching Gifts to Education Fund.

“This partnership and donation is a tremendous blessing to our schools,” said Wanda Moore Williams, Assistant Principal, Emma Hutchinson Elementary School. “These resources and the Delta people will help us significantly close the achievement gap in our schools.”

Delta’s contribution will go directly to strengthening APS programs and ensure grade-level proficiencies in third grade reading. Research shows that these proficiencies are strong predictors of a student’s likeness to graduate high school having a life-long impact on economic and professional opportunities.

How Delta people can get involved

APS graduate and daughter of a former APS teacher, Sandy Gordon, Vice President — Airport Operations, East, assured the standing room-only crowd that Delta’s partnership and commitment to Atlanta Public Schools is long-term. She explained how Delta will play a vital role in the advancement of Atlanta city’s youth by providing resources essential for their success — academically and down the line professionally.

“This partnership is just one piece of Delta’s larger commitment to advancing education — a key pillar of our community engagement efforts,” Gordon said.

Delta plans to focus on meeting the most urgent need first — improving literacy — because if a child can’t read, they can’t learn.

Those interested in volunteering as program literacy volunteers should first register for the required one-hour training session and register today through Volunteermatch. The literacy program will span over the course of the school year (August-May) and volunteers must commit two to four hours a month.

Additionally, employees can still to donate to the APS fund through the Matching Gifts to Education Fund as well. 

For more information on the Delta-APS Partnership program or to sign-up as a program literacy volunteer, visit the Atlanta Public Schools Partnership page on Deltanet.