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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
“How involved are you in the lives of young people?” This question came up as part of a recent dinner conversation.  Those of us with grown children tended to say we were when our children were at home, but not so much since then.  We talked about children who were friends with our kids and if we influenced them in a positive way.  I was reminded of Callie, a beautifully spirited young girl whose home life was chaotic.  I remember sharing with... Read More
In summer 2011, CAYLA students participatd in United Way's Community Conversation on Education   Let’s talk about learning and school. This is the launching of my education blog so people can share thoughts and ideas about educating young people – particularly in Asheville and Buncombe County. My name is Ann, and I’m interested in these discussions for a number of reasons – I have two children who went through the Asheville City School System, I... Read More
United Way is excited to begin a new blog dedicated to discussing Education topics. Check back soon and join the conversation! Read More

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