"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where Do We Go from Here?

I want to thank all of the volunteers who helped me win the election. I could not have done it without you. I also appreciate all the comments and questions from everyone who was interested in becoming an informed voter.

On Nov. 3, a group of interested parents met at my home to discuss ways to get parents more involved. Here are some of the ideas.

1. Create a rotating list of people to attend school board meetings and work sessions, video tape where possible, and summarize in an email to the group and on a blog. (This is in process. If you want to participate, stay tuned for more information.)

2. More parent expertise in the classrooms. One mom, a former English teacher, would like to volunteer in some of the English classes and help focus on writing skills: critiquing, encouraging, coaching, etc. If those parents with skills in a particular area were willing to work with specific teachers at different schools, there would be much greater ability and support for our teachers and the curriculum from the community at large. I encourage each of you to look at what your skills and talents are and volunteer them to your local school.

3. PTA and PTO organizations. A parent pointed out that some schools might want to consider forming a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) instead of going through the PTA, as all the money raised would stay completely with that school, and there would be no outside pressure to conform to state or national requirements. It would truly be a local organization. A few parents have decided to look in to this idea.

4. Public Training. It was suggested that teacher training sessions be open to the public, perhaps on a rotating basis.

5. Communications from the district to the teachers, schools, etc. should be posted on the ASD website and available for public viewing.

6. Professional Learning Communities. The early-out Monday meetings at each school are open to the public. It was suggested that parents may want to rotate to attend some of these meetings at their individual schools.

7. School Community Councils and PTA. The School Community Councils (SCC) are a very important piece of the school organization. Until I started this campaign, I was pretty uninformed on the role and potential of the SCC's. In the Spring, each school will ask for volunteers to run for election to their own SCC. If you want to influence the direction of your school, SCC is the place to be. Currently, only those parents with children in that particular school can be on the SCC. The SCC is charged with determining the use of the school trust lands monies (about 1/2% of the local school's budget each year). The SCC and PTA organizations are also one of the most often used methods for communicating information from the community to the district. It is important for the SCC's to be as representative of the people as possible. I encourage you, if you have kids at the local district school, to get involved in the SCC. All meetings are open to the public.

Please comment either here or on Facebook with any additional suggestions you might have. Sometimes, all it take is one person's idea, to make a big difference.

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