Tag Archives: Society

Community of Learning: Part 2

Sorry for the delay, I spent some extra time ruminating on that last post and some new experiences.

So, this is kind of the meat & potatoes of this concept.  The last one was more of a base building effort for the uninitiated.  Many in the education community likely found it filled with givens and few Earth-shattering concepts.  For this one, I hope to share some new concepts on how the community can support learning success.

The role of the community has been overlooked in most areas.  The relationship between the community and the schools is a reciprocal one.  Both would benefit from the kind of partnerships I will discuss.  Notice these groups in the graphic above do not directly touch learning, but that doesn’t mean they could not.  These groups should be active filling in some gaps at cash-strapped, time-crunched schools.  Their presence and work would feed benefits back them.  Ultimately this is necessary for the health, vitality and longevity of a community.

As I mentioned before, schools should aim at educating all students and the whole child.  That means meeting the academic, physical and emotional needs of those students.  Schools are continually being asked to do more with less money and fewer staff members.  This is where it becomes important to partner with the community.  For the school, it means meeting those whole-child needs and possibly more effectively reaching all students with less expenditure.  For those community groups it can bring unique benefits back to them.  I will lay out those responsibilities and benefits for each group.

Community leaders: This refers to both elected and unofficial leaders.  The definition of elected leaders speaks for itself.  Unofficial leaders would consist of politicos, active personalities (every community has them), neighborhood watch presidents, HOA leaders and even media figures.  These players are necessary in many ways.  They should be working towards betterment of education by supporting ordinances, laws and budgets that support learning in the community.  Elected officials should spend time with the principals and teachers to find out what laws best support learning.  Principals, teachers and other educational leaders should be involved in political arenas to support their schools.  Community leaders should also be involved in encouraging students to stay in school and encouraging parents to be involved.  Parents must also be involved in the political arena by communicating their desires and needs to community leaders.

Business leaders: This refers to business leaders of all levels.  Both small and large businesses should get involved in academics.  By supporting education through monetary or other means is beneficial for both institutions.  Why schools win is obvious. Businesses’ gains are two-fold.  An educated consumer base means better-paying jobs, which means more money to spend at businesses.  It also means less crime, saving them money on security needs and loss dollars.  Depending on local rules, if you can make your support visible in the school it would be great marketing.  Another good way to be involved would be internship or work-study programs.  Schools should be quick to facilitate these for students that are interested.

Faith-based/Non-profit Organizations: This is one area where the ball has been dropped.  These organizations claim to be watching out for the betterment of the community.  Yet many ignore this gaping hole of needs.  School is a place, perhaps the only place, where needs surface for those who have no way to express those needs.  Elementary students often don’t know or have a way to ask for basic needs like shoes or a new coat.  I think this would be a great reason to have a cache of basics available at school.  Bookbags, coats, shoes and some clothing would be a great start.  There could be a contact for the school to call to access funds or a stockpile of goods.  This is one good way of meeting the needs of the whole child.  If they can feel safe, cared for and their needs are met then maybe they can concentrate better in class.  By taking care of children in the community they fulfill their directives.  Doing so increases their presence and visibility in the community and would likely lead to more donations.

Creative Community: This is another way of meeting the needs of the whole child.  Members of this community could supplement or provide art and music programs for underfunded schools.  Preferably these would be during school, but after school would also be acceptable.  Even if it is not a full-fledged program they could reach out to offer assistance to teachers.  This could take the form of providing a lesson on a certain type of music that corresponds to a lesson or story.  They could also help with a craft project for a few days.  Whatever their talent it can be used to help students with their creative outlets.  This makes for healthier students and communities.

In the following weeks I plan to touch on each area in greater detail.  I am sure some communities may already be taking some of these measures.  I hope I’ve given you some good ideas on how to build a healthier community of learners.

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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Education


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Why I am here

Two years ago, I started a new chapter in my life while closing out a comfortable one.  Working in the TV news business was a job in which I was moderately successful for more than a decade.  I worked my way up in the newsroom from camera operator to producer in a few short years.  However, my time in that world opened my eyes to a good number of truths and troubles.  One truth revolves around the importance of teamwork.  Without that simple concept things just don’t go as well.  Oh, you can get a newscast on air, but it just won’t have that element of “love” that gives it that extra something special.  I’m not just talking about the basic teamwork of everyone just doing their jobs.  I’m speaking of a communal effort to make sure it was the best product we could air.  I’ve seen shops excel in that department and shops fail, epically.


I also spent those 13 years hearing and seeing things I can never forget.  Things that still cause me to have a reaction of some sort to this day.  Ultimately it confirmed something to me I had long suspected: A good number of youth in this world face realities which I can not comprehend.  These realities are completely alien to me.  Besides those alien realities, I was also constantly hearing about the piss-poor state of our local education system and increasing troubles in our communities.  I could not help but wonder if these were not related.

On top of that, I was looking at what it meant to be a good father to my children.  In all these arenas the same theme kept appearing: Kids are failing in life because their fathers are failing them.  I felt a calling to the classroom.  This takes many forms, but the most popular is the absentee father.  Studies show the main indicator of a young person’s success in school is whether there is a strong male role model in his or her life. Now, I know I can’t be a father to these students, but if I can show them a little care or love, even for a while, maybe it will make a difference.

However, as I have seen these stats play out in the classroom and realized I can make that difference, another issue has slapped me in the face.  Learning is under attack on many fronts in our current system.  We must take back our classrooms and schools.  We must make sure our children LEARN!!  We must reclaim education from the many enemies hacking away at it.  I hope to present a few of my ideas (and those of others) on exactly how this may be accomplished.  A few themes are likely to appear as we journey through these possible answers and theories.  Community of learners, whole-child education, involvement, legitimate learning and assessment will be just a few of the issues I will attempt to address, advocate or improve.

Thank you for joining me, I value your input and hope you come away enlightened and encouraged to get involved.

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Introductions


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