In a conversation with community volunteers about United Way’s focus on education, we heard the following comments: “Kids aren’t my best group to work with”, “There is a reason I’m not a teacher” and “School years weren’t my happiest – what else can I do”. Realizing at the same time that school volunteer programs don’t always align with people’s availability, we figured that we could suggest ways to support education of children outside of the classroom.
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During a period of 24 months, United Way visited 42 different groups of Buncombe County residents and asked 326 people about their dreams for a good community. We asked them what kind of community they want, what it means to have a good life, what gets in the way of that here, and what can be done to fix those obstacles.
We learned a lot and we are inspired by their thoughtful conversations with each other. People were sincere and forthright in their responses. When we compiled all the responses, we realized 4 strong themes from every conversation.
As technology advances continue to evolve, there are amazing new opportunities to teach and to learn in very different ways: Ways that could evolutionize the classroom.
One of the first pieces of public education to come to the chopping block is teacher assistants. Perhaps they seem like fluff to legislators and politicians? Maybe our elected officials see this position as one that can be replaced with a parent or other volunteer? Maybe it would help to look a bit more closely at the list of tasks they are expected to master on the job.
Vouchers, independent school districts, charter schools, magnet schools….are they all signs of our country’s abandonment of public education? Or a commitment to improve the education of our children?
Many years ago when I asked my 5 year old daughter which school she wanted to attend from a choice of magnet theme elementary schools, without hesitation her reply was “my school” – which to her meant the one in our neighborhood.
Every August I hear parents say “I will be so ready for school to start up!” After weeks of trying to occupy, entertain, and monitor their children, they often relish the chance to get back into a routine of six hours or so of kids at school.
On May 7th over 60 women gathered to learn about and sign up to join the Women’s Leadership Council. This "WLC" is now part of a powerful network of caring women – more than 50,000 members in 130 communities across the country – who are standing up and taking action. Here’s what is happening in Buncombe County.
Today launches the third Middle School Success public awareness campaign by United Way.
Why raise awareness of middle school?
Have you even been in middle school or junior high school? Do you remember the awkwardness and confusion of that time? Do you remember thinking that your parents, teachers or other adults just don’t get it? The public awareness campaign is intended to remind the adults in this community that we were there once ourselves and that we need to support and encourage youth in our community who are dealing with the middle school years.
Some years ago I worked with high school dropouts to prep for their GED exams and find employment. The common joke among the participants was that they all wanted a job taste-testing in a pie factory, everything else looked hard and/or boring. We spent a significant amount of time helping them understand realities of the work world.
At my request, we have a guest blog from Allison Jordan, Executive Director of Children First/ Communities in Schools. “Communities in Schools” is a specific model within a Community School approach. Learn about the amazing work taking place in two local elementary schools: