Community Support Efforts

Local Education Support Campaign

The local Support Organization is made up of local politicians, businesses, service, social and religious organizations, advocacy groups, Chambers of Commerce, local press and media, concerned individuals, etc.  This page describes how these local support organizations will come into being, how they can organize themselves and what they can do to encourage and support local learning efforts.

Purpose:

  1. Help get the local schools, students and their parents started and committed to dramatically improving education within a single year. In particular ensure every 4th grade student in the community is participating.
  2. Help ensure that no student is held back in their learning because of lack of access to important resources (computing devices, internet bandwidth, access to educational software, off hour space for learning, volunteers for tutoring, help desk functions, etc.)
  3. Help maintain a high level of motivation throughout the year.

Potential Members:

  1. Community Political and Business Leaders
  2. Local Chambers of Commerce
  3. Local churches, synagogues and temples
  4. Local Service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, Lions, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW, etc.)
  5. Local youth organizations (Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA/YWCA, Boys & Girl Scouts, Police Athletic Leagues, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc.)
  6. Unions
  7. Concerned individuals in the community
  8. Etc.

Activities:

  1. Awareness/publicity campaign
    1. Making sure everyone in the community is aware of and supportive of the program (not just the parents of the 4th graders)
    2. Getting everyone in the community to wear the colored wristbands to demonstrate their support for the program
    3. Encouraging all community members to join the support group
  2. Helping maximize initial participation by students and teachers
    1. Lobbying concerned educators to join in
    2. Where needed, visit schools and give students pep talks
    3. Help organize a communication blitz to parents to stress the importance of the initiative and offer various kinds of help to help parents help their children to be successful (e.g. for parents working many hours or with language problems, etc. that cannot help their children as much as they would like)
    4. Organize a local kickoff pep rally where 4th grade students and their parents are cheered on like a local sports team to really put in the effort and make everyone proud, etc.
  3. Help ensure resources are available for students
    1. Encourage local teachers to specify their needs
    2. Try to meet as many needs as possible with local resources (e.g. donated computers, etc.)
    3. Where national offers reduce the cost of satisfying local needs, help satisfy the balance
      1. Organize fund raising drives
      2. Arrange credit to bridge time until fund raising drives can kick in
      3. Etc.
  4. Help maintain high participation in initiative throughout the year
    1. Offer motivational intervention assistance where warranted (e.g. troubled students or those with discipline or motivation problems)
      1. E.g. facilitating special mentorship program to help individual students needing help (e.g. working with organizations like Big Brother/Big Sister and providing them additional support in their efforts)
    2. Support the heck out of the teacher.
      1. It is very important that the teacher has the respect needed to be able to effectively help students learn.
      2. Make sure the teacher knows you are there to help them be successful in their efforts to help the students succeed.
      3. Make sure the teacher gets recognition for their efforts (they are people too).
      4. Coordinate special efforts with the teachers to maintain high motivation of the students.
    3. Organize periodic pep rallies to encourage students and honor students that have gone above and beyond to support the success of ALL 4th graders (this can be students of any age or teachers or parents or others in the community – preferably some of each group – spread bragging rights around). (See Hero Program description at end of this appendix.)
    4. Encourage and support 4th graders in the establishment of a 4th grade student self-help group where the students get together to come up with ways to enhance their own achievement and also help each other in raising their achievement. By providing special assistance here in terms of having participation (even if primarily in observer mode – or occasional “you can do it” mode), it makes it easier for overloaded teachers to encourage such an effort by students.
    5. Help organize a 4th Grade Parents Organization where parents get together to see how they can best help and support their children and each other. E.g.
      1. After school learning/homework sessions where parents share responsibilities so that parents with exceptional time constraints and other issues can be helped
      2. Ensure the initiative does not become a stress creator. Hard work does not have to cause stress if it is done in a challenging way – just look at the effort put in by members of school sports teams.
    6. Support the local press/media coverage campaign where high school student reporters report what is happening in the community with regard to the initiative.
      1. Offer to provide interviews
      2. Encourage the local press/media to cover local efforts re. the initiative (especially to name lots of names of everyone involved as there is nothing that encourages participation like seeing one’s name or the name of a child or friend in the paper or hearing it on the radio or TV). And there is nothing as good for circulation of local newspapers, etc. as having locals named.
        1. Make a special effort that everyone in the community is aware when some locals are named in an article so that the full benefit of the bragging rights is achieved as well as motivating the local press/media to give the initiative even more coverage because it is good for circulation.
    7. Help organize tutoring (volunteers and participation) in coordination with the local teacher.
    8. Encourage people and organizations to post incentive rewards on the Incentive Pledge Board on the initiative Web Site.
      1. In addition to local businesses and organizations (anyone can post an incentive, anyone!) some communities can be resourceful in reaching out to celebrities and personalities that live in or have lived in the community at some time to encourage them to pledge incentives.

Initial Efforts:

  1. National Effort:
    1. Getting national organizations to encourage their local chapters to get involved
    2. Finding already existing initiatives to encourage local social good organizations/efforts and leverage their efforts.
  2. National Publicity Blitz including appeal for Local community leaders to get involved and establish a local community support group.
  3. Local Communication Blitz
    1. Local high school students and others communicating (with prepared draft communications) to all the various potential community support group members encouraging them to get the community support group started (mail and telephone combination)
  4. Simple Establishment
    1. By simply creating a local support group chapter (e.g. by local high school students or whomever), it makes it easier for others to join in.

Support for the Local Community Support Groups:

  1. A national support web site
    1. Where local support group chapters can register
    2. Maintain mailing lists and communicate with local members
    3. Can find and exchange ideas and draft plans for all kinds of local initiatives from Support Rallies to tutoring programs to ideas for helping provide devices, bandwidth and other resources.
    4. A suggestion road map for getting started (organization suggestions, initial activities suggestions, etc.)
    5. A discussion forum for exchanging ideas for overcoming problems, etc.

Celebrity/Hero Program:

The following are some ideas for enhancing motivation for the initiative and for the community in a lasting way.

Students/Teachers/Others who make exceptional contributions to the achievement of the class (could be the worst student, but who went out and got the other worst students to commit) are honored (in a lasting way)

  1. Names put on a permanent metal plaque in a prominent place in the community
    1. Parents can frequently take younger siblings to see to create urge to want to be similarly recognized when they are older
  2. Big write-up in local paper about the students of the week/month and what they are doing to make a difference in achievement in their school and how being honored
  3. The hero student(s?) of the week are provided a special ID that gets them (and a friend – very important) free or reduced cost access to locales or events in the community (e.g. restaurants, movies, etc.)
    1. another name for this program could be envy generation program – make those with desirable behavior into heroes
  4. Students (similar programs could be for teachers and others – but I am focusing on students here) would be invited to a dinner or meeting with some celebrities (local mayor or congressman, etc., local sports or media personality, successful businessman, etc.) The local Community Support Council would be challenged here to arrange the personalities.
    1. Particularly exceptional student contributors could be nominated from the Local Community to the National Organization that could have other rewards
      1. Meetings/Dinners with national celebrities/personalities
      2. Cameo appearances in movies, TV shows, etc.
      3. Special Trips (participation in conferences or events to solve problems – educational or world in nature)
      4. Special attention in national media (TV, magazines, etc.)
    2. In almost all cases, these rewards would include ability to invite a friend along (people will generally work harder to impress someone else that for themselves). This can also result in a sort of encouragement club – a girl or boy friend hoping their friend will take them to such an event, etc.

The above are just a few ideas, the real efforts will be limited solely by the imaginations of the community members.

The Community Support Groups can play a very significant role in maximizing the success of the overall initiative of getting 100% of 4th grade students to 100% grade level mastery by the end of 4th grade however it is important not to forget out “Belts & Suspenders” philosophy.  There will be communities where the is no community support group.  But those communities still have students that need to succeed.  The community support groups is just one aspect of the initiative and students can still be successful due to parents, teachers, other students at all levels, etc.  So, go for the community support group where possible, but work on the other aspects if it does not come together.

Getting started:

It is intended that a special team will take on this project and start the reach-out campaign to appropriate potential partner organizations in the near future.  If you would like to be part of this team, or if you are affiliated with an organization that has local affiliates that are concerned with the well-being of the community and especially the education of the children (e.g. political structures, service clubs, business organizations, religious organization, youth-oriented organizations, etc.) or are involved in encouraging education or are simply a concerned citizen and would like to find out more about the initiative or how you could be involved, please contact us at one of the following addresses:

Thank you for your interest in improving education and the future prospects of our society.