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Can One Passing Comment To a Child Really Make a Difference? In previous blogs I wrote about our community’s role in education for our youth, opportunities to be involved with young people in a positive way, and listening to the opinions of young people.  During the summer months as kids are interacting with lots of different adults, let’s consider the power of adult influences on a young person’s life.   How Teachers Comments Make a Difference... Read More
[Ann is on vacation this week.  Of course she wrote this well before she headed out - we are posting it on her behalf.]   A few months ago I wrote "Lessons From Local Youth" - letting you know about a project we were working on called Community Conversations which we held with 5 different groups in Buncombe County. In it I shared what young people said about opportunities, education, and the community they live in.    United Way Hosted Worldwide... Read More
Summer Learning Loss: Four ways kids approach summer vacation   It’s always interesting to me when an old topic takes on new urgency – as though it were a new phenomenon.  “Summer Learning Loss” is one of those.   Educators have known about this as long as there have been school calendars with long summer breaks. Mastery in reading, math, science and history somehow vanish for certain students.  Why do some kids return to school in the fall... Read More
One of the questions posed to stakeholders in the Asheville City Schools strategic planning process is: How well does ACS prepare students with the skills they need to be successful in employment or at college? I’d venture to say there are the old, current and evolving roles.   Old Role:  Worker Prep Based on a manufacturing model of many years ago, public education was viewed as a production line of good workers:  People who were literate and... Read More
  The Asheville City School system is designing a new strategic plan.  I had the recent honor of being interviewed as a stakeholder in the schools.  The questions were well thought out and it gave me a chance to reflect on my children’s experiences in their very different journeys from kindergarten through graduation, and my own experience as a parent, nonprofit administrator and a four-year term member of the school board.  I plan to write... Read More
Whenever I go to a conference that costs me or my employer money, I expect to bring back at least three things.  I want to get at least one new idea I can put to use quickly.  I want to make at least one connection with another person who is doing interesting things in their work and who I can follow up with later. And I want to be inspired.  I look for a passionate speaker who makes me want to do a better job and be a better person. I think we'... Read More
Whenever I go to a conference that costs me or my employer money, I expect to bring back at least three things.  I want to get at least one new idea I can put to use quickly.  I want to make at least one connection with another person who is doing interesting things in their work and who I can follow up with later. And I want to be inspired.  I look for a passionate speaker who makes me want to do a better job and be a better person. I’m putting... Read More
Last month I wrote about ways to ask young people their opinions.  Well, we’ve been practicing.  We just completed community conversations with 5 different groups in Buncombe County.  As part of conversations in over 35 communities around the country, our local discussions will be folded into a national report on the kind of community people want to live in and what gets in the way – particularly around young people who have dropped out of... Read More
Getting at Results In the past 15 years or so, there has been a significant push to get social programs to measure their results.  United Way, Urban Institute, Harvard Family Research Project along with the General Accounting Office of the US Government and many others developed training and resources to assist nonprofits, federal agencies and other groups in determining if their programs actually worked for the people they served.  And over the... Read More
  Young people say that they have ideas but no one hears them. Last summer, I had a session with high school students and they said: School staffs don’t ask students their opinions or if they do ask, they don’t listen. They gave some examples including food service and a tardy policy. Students need to keep trying to make their voices heard.   Basic Recipe: Ask for an opinion Listen to the answer Repeat what was said Don’t express your opinion... Read More

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