This is a great writing prompt that is good enough to drag me away from reading report cards for a few minutes.
First, I have to say how much I have enjoyed the on-going Voxer chat on the Innovator’s Mindset – a great good by George Couros which is great reading and wonderful as a discussion piece.
Some of the conversations have really changed the way I think about innovation and leadership and the constraints put on us by the system we are in.
So, for today’s prompt – I don’t really want to go ‘pie in the sky’ on this one, but there is one thing I would really like to see in schools.
Equity – this is becoming a really big issue for me.
I think there needs to be more of an effort put into schools in low-income areas. It is not just a matter of not having the same amount of financial resources as suburban schools, it is actually an issue of how we support children and families.
Too often I hear about kids who can’t get support at home because parents are working extra hours or just do not have the capacity to offer the support their kids need. Many are supporting families on a single income or are dealing with life in a shelter or other issues we can hardly imagine.
Often these families cannot afford the after school sports and recreation programs other families take for granted. These programs are really important to help kids have a really well rounded education. We try to provide some of these extras through our school programs, but we simply do not have the resources to bring as many programs into the school as we need.
My ideal school would be restructured to offer a really good tutoring/homework club staffed by qualified teachers. The program would be supplemented by a recreation or arts program that would take place after the tutoring is done for the day. The students would all have their own Chromebook to bring home to work on really good digital programs like the Discovery Science Techbook or Mathletics. We would make sure the students had a healthy snack before being picked up with extra food available if the family was in need.
Our school would be open to parents who could use our wifi to work on their own courses or take advantage of instruction in areas that they need.
None of these things are ‘pie in the sky’. I know this because I have heard of schools that provide these supports to their families. The problem is that these are shining examples of what should be happening in all our low income schools. There are not enough of these schools.
Our school needs to be a hub for the community, especially for our students and our parents – every day of the week and throughout the summer as well.
We have the resources and the models to make this happen if we really invested in making a change in the lives of the most disadvantaged in our society.
All that is missing is the will.
That would be a great school to work in!