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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... Read More
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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. You fail a course you need:  Credit recovery for students is offered online by many different schools and sites.  K12 Inc. and National High School are a few examples of businesses offering this service for a fee.  NC Virtual Public School offers credit recovery tied to the NC... Read More
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
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. From the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants: Work Performed... Read More
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
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. What is happening... Read More
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
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. Whether you are trying to get to work every day while arranging for child care or trying to get things done at home while working around caring for children, summer poses a different stress on families. ... Read More
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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.  What is WLC? In addition to being part of a national network, the Women’s Leadership Council is a way for women to drive change in our... Read More
Thursday, May 9, 2013
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... Read More
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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.  Enter the inaugural Students@Work Week which was held in February in Asheville. What is Students@Work Week? A... Read More
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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:   Background on Communities In Schools (CIS) Begun in 1977, Communities In Schools (CIS) is a national organization with about 200 affiliates serving nearly 1.3 million... Read More
Thursday, March 28, 2013
In the two most recent blogs, I’ve talked about the Community School model and shared some of the research on how it works to support students, families and schools. Keeping in mind that a Community School is a hub that brings people together—parents, teachers, students, and volunteers—to support students' academic success, build strong families, and improve communities; and that Community Schools become community centers that integrate... Read More
Wednesday, March 13, 2013