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I Wish My Teacher Knew

Have you seen the story that went viral this week about the teacher in Denver that asked her third grade students to finish the sentence “I wish my teacher knew…”? 

The stories the students shared give us a glimpse into the sweet and heartbreaking realities that children bring with them into the classroom every day. Here are a few - I wish my teacher knew:

“… that I want to go to college.”

“…I haven’t seen my real mom is over two years and that makes me sad.”


My Middle School Years Made Me Who I Am Today

It’s embarrassing I haven’t thought of this before…it is such an important thing to understand. United Way staff members were asked to think about and share their own story of why they “Live United.” Several folks had very compelling experiences that made them aware of how important community is when something bad happens. And it is true that what drives many of us every day to do this work is remembering how difficult life is for so many.


What Can I Do?

We heard about, and wanted to share, this piece by Wayne Drummond, AIG Specialist at Black Mountain Elementary & Owen Middle. He shared this at the start of the school year, but the point is timeless.


Our Culture of Health Is Just Beginning

On Friday, September 26, Buncombe County folks will be celebrating! The celebration is for our Culture of Health. Come to Kimmel Arena at UNC Asheville at 4 p.m. to not only celebrate, but learn more about what many individuals and groups are doing collectively to improve the health of all our residents.



Just Because It's Summer, Kids Don't Lose Their Appetites!

In February, I wrote a piece about a school in another state that took lunches away from students who weren’t paid up.  Thankfully, I learned then that Buncombe County Schools has a policy of ensuring each student has a lunch, even if his or her parents haven’t covered the cost for that day. Now, it’s even better news over the summer with the announcement that for the third year in a row, schools are offering free lunches at 16 different sites scattered around the county.


S'no Use Complaining about Snow Days

An Exercise in Difficulties at Many Levels

Another snow day for schools means scrambling on all sides. As a parent, I would be so frustrated because I still had to get to work and now I had to figure out what to do with my children. Old enough to stay home? They would wreck the house! Need child care? Programs might open at 10, but I had an 8:30 meeting! And then, as it often happens in the mountains of WNC, by noon the roads are clear and the sky is sunny. However, as a school board member, I soon understood how complicated it is.


Chicken or Egg? Education, Income or Health?

How do you decide which came first; the chicken or the egg? I’ve had multiple opportunities to debate with people in Buncombe County about which is more important to a successful life; one’s education, income or health. There are very impassioned and energetic views on all sides.

There are predictors that link these three areas: Likelihood of graduating from high school goes up with higher family income; Parents’ education level indicates children’s education level; Poor health or poor access to health care can lead to poor performance in school.


980 Pre-School Children Waiting in Line in Buncombe County

Imagine a very long line of infants and toddlers standing outside, waiting to get into a building. 980 children in fact. Imagine that adults in communities across the state looked at those lines every day and the only way they could get one child out of the line was if another child was removed from the service they were waiting for.