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Record-Setting School Supply Drive Kicks Off 8th Year of Main Street America’s Partnership with Woodland Acres Elementary School


Thursday, August 18, 2016 8:55 am EDT



.@msagroupins employees donate 1000s of supplies for #WoodlandAcresElementary partnership

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the eighth consecutive year, The Main Street America Group is continuing its impactful private business-public school partnership with Jacksonville’s Woodland Acres Elementary School, a Duval County (Fla.) Public School located in the city’s Arlington neighborhood.

Main Street America’s annual Back-to-School Supply Drive is one example of the Jacksonville-based property/casualty insurance carrier’s year-round support of the elementary school. The company’s Jacksonville-based employees recently donated thousands of much-needed items, including notebook paper, pencils, erasers, copy paper, washable markers, highlighters and other items. More than 50 large boxes of items, the most ever donated by the Southside company’s employees, were packaged and delivered last week so teachers could select the items they needed to set up their classrooms for the first day of the new school year.

“You are changing the lives of our children,” said Woodland Acres first-grade teacher Brittany Villmow. “This year, I won’t have to turn away any students who cannot afford school supplies. Thank you to Main Street America for all that they do for our school and helping to set our students up for success.”

“As a new teacher, I truly appreciate the resources Main Street America has provided us,” added TJ Bartholomew, a third-grade teacher at Woodland Acres. “It certainly helps us start the school year off right!”

In addition to the supply drive and a student book fair held last spring, which enabled every K-2 student to select a book to take home and keep for summer reading, a team of dedicated Main Street America employees tutors students onsite each month throughout the school year. Employees spend valuable one-on-one time with assigned students on campus, focusing on literacy learning.

Main Street America’s partnership with Woodland Acres began in 2009 through the University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services’ Professional Development Schools program. What started small has grown into impactful hands-on involvement with the elementary school, considered the “flagship” for the university’s award-winning Professional Development School program.

“There are a lot of businesses in Jacksonville that work with schools, but through the years Main Street America has become part of the school,” said Christie Stevenson, Woodland Acres’ resident clinical faculty member from the University of North Florida.

Fifth-Grade Field Trip

Main Street America’s impactful partnership includes hosting an interactive field trip at its corporate headquarters. Each spring, Main Street America welcomes Woodland Acres’ entire fifth grade class to its Southside offices. Nearly 100 students typically participate, learning the basics of the property/casualty insurance industry and what it’s like to work at a locally based company. Activities include an office tour and brief presentations from members of the company’s claims, underwriting, information technology and products teams.

“The field trip is unique in that it gives the students an opportunity to see what a real local business looks like and how it operates. It’s really eye-opening and gives them an idea of something that might be a possible career path for them in the future,” stated Dr. Susan Syverud, UNF’s professor-in-residence at Woodland Acres. “Main Street America has been involved with us for a long time, and with time, our partnership keeps getting better and more impactful.”

“Main Street America’s employees treat our students like young adults and encourage them to ask questions and they become very engaged during the field trip,” added Stevenson. “This level of interaction makes them feel very special and broadens their vision.”

Funding for Technology-Enhanced Instruction and Other Programs

Main Street America has also funded the purchase of 25 tablet devices that are being used to tutor struggling readers at Woodland Acres. This use of technology-related instruction at Woodland Acres complements the efforts of our Main Street’s employee tutors who work with struggling readers in grades 3-5. In addition, Main Street America has financed the launch of the school’s Positive Student Behavior Rewards Program and spearheaded funding to create a community outreach initiative to get parents more involved in their children’s education.

About The Main Street America Group

With roots dating back to 1923, The Main Street America Group is a mutual insurance holding company which writes business through its nine property/casualty insurance carriers: NGM Insurance Company, Old Dominion Insurance Company, Austin Mutual Insurance Company, Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company, Main Street America Assurance Company, Great Lakes Casualty Insurance Company, MSA Insurance Company, Spring Valley Mutual Insurance Company and Main Street America Protection Insurance Company. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Main Street America offers a wide range of commercial and personal insurance, as well as fidelity and surety bond products, to individuals, families and businesses throughout the United States.

With nearly $1 billion in premium written exclusively by more than 2,500 independent insurance agents, the 93-year-old company insures 600,000 policyholders in 37 states and writes bonds in 47 states and the District of Columbia. A.M. Best Company rates The Main Street America Group with an "A" (Excellent) financial strength rating and “a+” issuer credit rating. The company has $1.1 billion in surplus (capital) and over $2.4 billion in total assets.

Main Street America is the founding company partner of Trusted Choice®, the global branding program of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Main Street America is also a founding company partner of the TrustedChoice.com consumer agent portal and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center. For more information about Main Street America, please visit our newsroom at http://news.msagroup.com or connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MainStreetAmerica.

Multimedia Files:

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Teachers at Woodland Acres Elementary School, Jacksonville, Fla., display the school supplies they selected for their classrooms from amongst the thousands of supplies donated by employees of The Main Street America Group. (Photo: Business Wire)
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The Main Street America Group
Mark Friedlander, 904-380-7461

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