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Incentives for education Businesses encourage learning i
Area businesses partner with schools to help children become eager to learn.

 Bruster's serves ice cream to Wilderness Elementary School students for reading during the summer.
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Date published: 9/13/2005

CE CREAM, knickknacks, special treats.

Area businesses are partnering with schools to give students incentives to learn. And to provide high-fives to the teachers who help those students.

"It's really neat because a lot of time they are there to provide incentives for the students when they achieve goals in the classroom or achieve goals in the schools," said Sara Branner, spokeswoman for Spotsylvania County Public Schools.

And it goes beyond things.

Several of the business partners allow employees to spend work time tutoring in the schools. "They also are immersing themselves in the classroom and working with the students. Or they come in as speakers," Branner said.

The partnership doesn't end within the walls of the school, either. "Some of our schools have been building playgrounds and some of the partners help," she said.

Around 250 businesses have participated over the years, Branner said. Those businesses range in size from small mom-and-pop operations to large chain restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse in Central Park.

Outback has shared a special relationship with John J. Wright Middle School.

"Part of our marketing plan is to be community-involved, because if you are good to the community, the community will be good to you," said Suzette Hoffman, a regional marketing representative for Outback. Her husband, Dave, was proprietor at the Central Park location, which is the 30th busiest Outback in the country. Dave Hoffman was recently promoted to a venture partner and has been given new responsibilities and a different area to shepherd.

At Outback, the educational program extended beyond the classroom, Suzette Hoffman said. Children would be invited in to see how the business is organized. "We concentrate on the economics of the business," she said. "We teach students responsibility" and how tough it is to manage a restaurant.

But it was the little incentives, such as the joey card program, that meant the most to the students. The joey card provides a meal on the house for students who have excelled in reading, virtues, attendance, or whatever aspect of learning the school is focusing on. "It's the easiest program to do and it's the one that, honestly, you get the biggest thanks and appreciation from," Suzette Hoffman said.

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County Business Partners

1 Big Red Connection 7-11 Acors Mulch & Topsoil Air Conditioning Supply Alexander H. Balian, DDS Alias Funk Band All Tune & Lube American Enterprises AMF Fredericksburg Lanes Applebee's Restaurant Arby's ARCET Aunt Sarah's Balloons by Winnie Bank of America Basil's Restaurant Beijing Restaurant Bell Atlantic Pioneers Bella Silver Jewelry Bill Britt Mazda Bivio Luciano BJ's Wholesale Club Bloomer's Florist Border's Books & Music Boston House of Pizza Briner, Inc. Bruster's Real Ice Cream Buffalo Wild Wings Burger King Cafe Davanzo Camille's Sidewalk Cafe Campbell's Vending Cardinal Press Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Cafe Carpet House/Simms Furniture Carriage Hill Nursing Home Castiglia's Restaurant Century 21 AdVenture Chancellor Electric Chancellor Eye Care Chancellor Mortgage Checker's of Fredericksburg Chic-fil-A Childress Heating & Air China Max Chipotle Restaurant CiCi's Pizza Courthouse Tire & Service Center Corky's Creative Touch Nail Studio Dairy Queen Damon's Grill Danny's Pizza Dominion Steel Dominion Virginia Power Downtown Garage & Auto Body Durango's Steakhouse Einstein Bagels Electric Equipment Company Elegant Rose Enovation Graphics Systems Fairchild Trucking Fantastic Sam's Fawn Lake/NTS Development First Choice Heating & A/C First Colonial Mortgage Fisher Auto Parts Foley's Auto Sales Food Lion Formosa Fredericksburg Area Builders Association Fredericksburg Area Food Bank Fredericksburg Ice Park Fredericksburg Machine Shop Fredericksburg Nursing Home Fred's Recon Friendly's FunLand Gary P. Hussion, DDS GEICO General Products Giant Food Golden China Golden Corral Great Clips for Hair GTE Habitat for Humanity Hair Cuttery Hair Mosaics & Day Spa Hair Quarters Hampton's Karate Hat Barn Heaven Scent Florist Heavenly Ham Holiday Inn Impressions Hair & Skin Infinity Computers Jeffrey Day, DDS King's Dominion Theme Park Kyle L. Coble, DDS LC Smith, Masonry Lasting Images Ledo's Pizza Liberty Lanes Little Caesar's Pizza Little Tire Luck Stone Magical Moments Mama's Pizza & Subs Marquee Cinemas Matto's & Pro Finishes McDonald's Meadows Farms & Golf Course Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Minnieland Modern Woodmen of America Mom's in Touch International Nu Look Cleaners O'Charley's Restaurant Office Depot Old Country Buffet Olde Town Wine & Cheese Shoppe Otani Japanese Steak House Outback Steak House Paisano's Italian Eatery Panera Bread Papa John's Pizza Paragon Gymnastics Patriot Bank Pendleton's Grocery Penn-Mar Flooring Pepsi-Cola Company Picker's Supply Pine Hollow Nursery Pizzaro's Grocery Primo's Pizza Putt-Putt Golf & Games Quality 1st Automotive Quizno's Subs RC Theaters Radio Shack Radley Chevrolet Rappahannock Adult Activities Center Rappahannock Area YMCA Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Rappahannock Soccer Referee Association Red Lobster Regency Roller Sports Richmond Camera Robert B. Payne Roxbury Mill Farm & Garden Center Ruby Tuesday's Safety Regulation Strategies Sammy T's Restaurant Sam's Pizza & Subs Scafa's Italian Restaurant Segall-Majestic SER Events Seong's Tae Kwon Do Academy Shoney's Restaurant Simms Furniture/Carpet House Simply Sweet Slapshotz Sport & Health Clubs Spotsylvania Black Belt Academy Spotsylvania County Code Compliance Spotsylvania County YMCA Stage Door Productions Star Nails Subway Tan-De-Monium Target Taskforce Teach-N-Stuff Team Sports & Awards TGI Friday's The Book Rack The Car Doctor The Fredericksburg Area Medical Society The Learning Tree The Meadows at Salem Run The Oak Tree The Pear Tree The Snack Shack Thompson's Florist Tickers Coffee Total Health Care Chiropractic Tricord Homes, Inc. Trust for Public Education Ukrop's Uncle Sam's Restaurant University of Mary Washington Vietnamese Noodle House Virginia Department of Transportation Vinny's Italian Grill Virginia Heartland Bank Virginia Society of Radiologic Technologists Virginia Trane Sales & Service Waite Furniture Company Waldenbooks Wal-Mart WaWa WCC Cable, Inc. Wella Manufacturing of Virginia Westwood Deli Westwood Florist WFLS Radio Whistle Stop Restaurant White Tire Distributors