Friday, August 26, 2016

A willing learner and effective communicator

Sophia started school last week. With the return to our routine, I also started something new - job hunting.

It's not just any job that I'm hunting for. It's a job with purpose. I want to be in a position to make a difference, and I can wait a while or take a completely entry-level job to make that happen. 

Over the last couple of years, I've been the co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Sophia's school. She is lucky to go to one of the best schools in one of the best districts in the state. 

Along with the commitment I made to Sophia's school, I've been volunteering at a school in the Normandy District, which is in a much different position than Clayton. It's unaccredited, and its students can transfer out to other schools in the area as long as it remains that way. The two schools can be seen as completely different in some ways. However, in many ways, they are the same. I spend most of my time in both schools in the office. The administrators of both schools know all the kids by name. They are happy to see them in the morning, although in Normandy, there is a pushback on the kids who come in late too often. In Clayton, that's not really an issue. In both schools, the needs of the kids come first, and every step forward is celebrated. The difference is in the steps.

All this to say, I have grown a passion for equity in education. The kids in both schools are bright and sweet and want to do the right thing. They want to go to college, and for the most part, they still believe they can do just about anything. And, for the kids in Clayton, even the ones who don't live in the district, almost anything is within reach. For the kids in Normandy, it's going to be tougher. They shouldn't have to work twice as hard to get the same result. But they do. It's not only one problem - money or teachers - it's a thousand problems. Just because it's huge, doesn't mean it shouldn't be tackled and chipped away at. 

Lots of organizations are working on different aspects of these issues. Food, supplies, extra reading help, behavioral intervention to name a few. There are organizations working toward fixing the gaps at the high school level, so kids can come out and get a quality college education or get connected in the workforce. I have some ideas about which areas I want to invest in, but honestly, I just want to get the clear to jump in and I'll figure it out.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw

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