We all know the power of sharing ideas...
From your workplace brainstorms, planning trips with friends and family, from therapy sessions to the school classrooms, when we share our thoughts and ideas our voices and experience can be used to guide and learn from each other. As equally as it is for us to share our experiences every day with the people with whom we interact the most, it is also essential that we share ideas with those who live in different areas, and are of other religions, ethnicities, political affiliations, and nationalities from our own, the reality is that learning from those with radically different lived experience and wisdom is vital in understanding how we can best most forward as a collective.
That is why in the early morning of November 18th, 2022, more than 150 representatives from city and county governments and school boards, Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools, nonprofits, neighborhood groups, and businesses gathered at The Collider to learn more about how our community is tapping into the power and promise of the national Community Schools movement and to hear from local partners about the prominent role they are playing in implementing this work locally.
Visiting from Washinton, D.C was national leader Jose Munoz, the Senior Director for the Coalition Community Schools & Institute. Munoz has spent over three decades of his life dedicated to listening, learning, and sharing so that the exchange of ideas can spark action and make a difference in the lives of every child. On Friday, Munoz gave a powerful reflection on the community bonds he experienced growing up and shared his thoughts about building an inclusive and diverse community in our schools here in Asheville and Buncombe Co.
“I learned here in Asheville, Buncombe County, is that it's not so much programmatic,” said Munoz, “but it's how the way you're going about it and including people to the table listening to each other, wrestling with our dispositions. And I think that's the promise of bridging any type of divide we may face.”
The room at the Collider was a visual representation of local and national leaders fulfilling their promise to listen to voices of diverse backgrounds. Sharing their perspectives on the strategy were panelists Valene Fagan, Asheville City Schools parent; Keynon Lake, Founder of My Daddy Taught Me That; Josh Wells, United Way of ABC’s Community School Coordinator at Owen Middle School, and Travis Collins, Erwin Middle School Principal. Each panelist shares the importance of building strong community relationships to support youth and families.
“I’ve served as principal in small and large schools but this is my first Community School and I have to say, the more I learn, the more excited I get,” said Erwin Middle Principal, Travis Collins. “It is absolutely critical that we bring our local community partners and neighbors into our school but it is just as important for us to meet our community where they gather. We need to leave our school walls and join them where they are too.”
Staying engaged and working collaboratively are the keystones to successfully moving this work forward. We invite you to take the next step in fulfilling The Power and Promise of Community Schools:
- Volunteer your time at a local Community Night (featuring Homework Diners)
- Learn more about United for Youth, the Bold Community Goal, and our Partnership Agreement
- Support the work happening in Community Schools throughout Asheville and Buncombe County
- Learn more about the Coalition for Community Schools and the Institute for Educational Leadership's Asheville retreat