So Chuck and I plan to be at Houlihans tomorrow (right, Chuck?). We will probably be talking about our efforts to exert a change in Board Policy, but we always welcome fresh ideas from old friends and new. Over the past couple of days, I have had the opportunity to float this idea pass several Board Members and the reactions have been mixed (which is a good thing – I would be worried if I received a homogeneous, standard response). Some repeated themes so far are that the Board has tried several attempts to further engage the public over the years, all of which kinda sputtered out. So while all members I have talked to so far have expressed a desire and interest to connect with the public, they are not exactly certain how to do that.
As stated earlier and echoed in the undertones of what I hear the board members saying, what we really need is a change in society. That is a much larger and more complex issue to deal with. The quintessential question seems to be “How do we entice more engagement?” Many things have been tried and none have been sustainable. Why is that?
Allow me to tangent a little and talk about the Board Meeting last night. I still don’t like the wording of the Champaign Telephone Company contract, but putting that aside, Meg Dickinson wrote an article about the need for nine new hall monitors at the high schools. This got me to thinking about all the adults we already have wondering the halls in the form of mentors and volunteers. Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could use them as hall monitors as well? I fired off an email to some of the folks involved with One-to-One Mentoring and heard back from one individual so far who thinks this is a great idea, but might only work for those of us who are physically larger in stature. I contend that all of us adults have a societal obligation to be a role model, but more importantly, to stamp out injustice and be active in setting the tone – in short, we are also teachers, and we must teach the value of a healthy community. And yes, that means we must first learn it ourselves, but I fully believe that there is no rule dictating we must master the subject before we teach. We are teachers and learners at the same time.
Meg also wrote a Sunday article (
not now online [updated July 29]) about “bubbling enrollment” focusing on how there has been a much larger than anticipated growth in those enrolling in Unit 4. It is a very well written article, supplemented with charts and factual information gathered from around the area, and interviewing a local mom and board member Kristine Chalifoux. I encourage you to read it.
For me, the bigger issue is how we do society. How we do community. I am becoming more and more convinced that if we can focus on the many positives we have, while also sincerely and with good intent address the challenges with our whole being, at the very local, relatively smaller level of our communities, we will have enhanced the larger picture, even if only by a mere fraction. I think, perhaps, that might be the best we can do at this point in time. I am glad that have many issues in front of us – they are challenges that cause our minds to bend, opportunities to learn and interact with each other, to teach and to learn.