Sunday, March 15, 2009

Response to "community... arms around its schools"

Several readers responded to the blog post "A Community That Wraps its Arms Around its Schools" as it seemed to strike a common chord. I'm publishing two today.

Cathy Puett Miller, President of TLA, Inc., an independent literacy consulting firm sent this note:

Aurelio, As usual I agree with you totally. Have you see the details in Joyce Epstein's research about parent leadership? She's right on target too. On a personal note, I learned early on to be an advocate because my gifted child was so "outside the box". It was a rough road and I did not always find that the schools were open to my "leadership". I found an outlet in volunteering for leadership in PTA but, instead of just doing bake sales, I saw a real need, developed a model volunteer based tutoring program for at risk readers and made a difference, not only in my own child's life, but hundreds (and now thousands of others with my consulting firm created as an extension of that experiment.
Did I have special training? No. Did I have a mentor? No. I just saw a need and stepped in to solve it. I was fortunate enough to have a principal who listened to my ideas and say "go for it!"

Daniel Bassill President at Tutor/Mentor Connection

Several years ago I heard the chairman of the Motorola Corporation talk to a group of educators. He said "If you just treated your students and parents as customers, you'd be much more successful." One teacher timidly raised her hand and said, "But we're not taught to do that in education school." I lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which connects leaders and volunteers and youth who participate in volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs with each other, and with on-line communities of information and people, such as this one. In many ways, this is the "village". It just needs to be expanded and strengthened. If enough people are working to help kids learn and grow up to be self-sufficient, and contributing adults, we'll change the way we define what we mean by "educators".

Daniel’s blog at expands upon these ideas and works to make them a reality in Chicago. If people in other cities take on a similar role, they can have similar impact. If we connect strategically, we each have greater impact.

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