Citizen Leadership by Sue Scheff: Promoting Community Education
By Sue Scheff
One of the most important parts of any community is the local school system, and it’s easy for concerned parents and good citizens to become intimately involved in some important aspects of school decisions. Becoming involved with local schools helps decide the direction of the youth in your community, which is of the upmost importance for the success of any community system.
A simple way to begin your citizen school involvement is by attending school board meetings. School board meetings help decide most of the important aspects of a school’s future, including school curriculum, dress code policy, disciplinary measures, budgeting, hiring teachers, new school buildings, and a variety of other things. This is one the best ways to be a part of local school decision making, and if your school board is elected it allows you to vote on school board members while understanding the types of administrative issues that my affecting your kid. At the very least, attending school board meetings provides you with a better understanding of how to be a productive citizen in both the community and school system.
Many schools also seek volunteer help. This work could include anything from grading papers to providing transportation on school field trips. Most public school systems in this country are overcrowded and underfunded, so any volunteer work is looked upon favorably and can help the schools function better. In the end, maintaining the education of our younger generation is always a major part of a good citizen’s workload.
Another great way to get involved in education is organizing after school programs. Many schools have after school programs that they coordinate with volunteers designed to give kids something productive to do after school. Keeping kids out of trouble after school and stimulating them with meaningful work is an excellent way to promote community involvement and healthy learning. Studies show that kids who participate in afterschool programs and extracurricular activities are much more likely to succeed in school then those who don’t.