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 In my last post, I introduced the idea of a community school: One where resources for families are offered at the school and where students learn through an integrated curriculum which makes learning more relevant to students’ lives.  Sounds OK, but does it make any difference? Researchers who have studied 20 such schools say it makes a difference to three groups: students, their families and teachers.Community School Initiatives around the... Read More
It seems strange on the heels of my blog about guns that I now want to talk about community schools.  This may be a time when parents and school staff are thinking about locking out the community from our schools.  But let’s talk about it… Taking language from the Coalition for Community Schools, , the idea is to set up partnerships between the school and resources in the community.  The theory is that when you integrate... Read More
I doubt many of us made it through the holidays without thinking of the mass  shooting  in Newtown Connecticut..  Such a horrific event penetrates the armor of the most hardened of us.  So as we figure out ways to move on, we face two options: 1. Let time diminish our feelings about it2. Keep the tragedy alive enough to have a national discussion about it For friends and family who lost loved ones  in the Newtown shootings, there certainly is a... Read More
Earlier this year we hosted a half dozen community conversations that focused on disadvantaged youth and what gets in their way of having a chance at a good life.  We defined disadvantaged youth as teens who had dropped out of high school and were unemployed.  Many of those who joined the conversations were in their teens or twenties.  One summary comment was repeated in at least half of the groups: Youth who drop out and don’t have jobs “don’t... Read More
This Community Wants Good Public Education Recently I wrote about 4 ways to keep public education alive. Here is a slightly different slant on the public interest in public education.  Education has been one of the most significant messages from the Community Conversations we have been hosting. We began Conversations in November of 2010 with the release of “Waiting for Superman” – a documentary that follows middle school students in low... Read More
The 2012 elections have ended and one of the big questions is what the results mean for public education. So now is a good time for us to take charge of what we want public education to look like. What can we control? 4 Ways to Keep Public Education Alive 1. Create A Culture of Learning to Keep Public Education Alive Our country needs people who want to understand the world and want to make it a better place. If adults exhibit a curiosity about... Read More
If this is still the land of opportunity (and I surely hope it is), shouldn’t every young person have a chance to go to college?  Even if we accept that not everyone is suited for a college education, how do we know when to make that determination?  When they are in middle school? In 3rd grade? And who gets to decide? Teachers, parents, youth? I imagine most of us know people who: Dropped out of high school and then went back and became doctors... Read More
It’s risky to challenge the role of sports in public schools during football season in WNC.  People get downright passionate about their local high school’s football team in this part of the country.  In fact, I was watching the High School sports roundup on the news the other night and it reminded me of the long conversations we had back when I was on the school board. Sports Programs in Education Settings...Pros and Cons Why Sports Are a... Read More
Welcome to the 9th Grade.  Your child has entered this brave new world and you are excited and terrified.  You want the best for your child; an easy transition, friends, success in class.  But your child's chance of success is slim – 80% of children entering the 9th grade don’t have the knowledge or skills they need to graduate. If, in middle school, your child's experience included failing math or English, an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a... Read More
There are national education grants for school systems to improve student success.  There are national neighborhood grants for districts to improve families’ economic success.  There are national county and multi-county grants to improve people’s health conditions.  At times these efforts stumble over each other as they try to put together collaborations of the same handful of local institutions – but each effort has the potential to make a big... Read More