In this episode, hosts Carole Dorn-Bell and Joel Gagne talk about uncertainty around school funding and the huge impact it can have on schools. A lot of school levies are on the ballot in the fall, and if these levies don’t pass, it can have a huge impact on the school and the community, and it can be difficult for a school to operate within this cloud of uncertainty.
“Number one, talk about it with your community,” Dorn-Bell says about the uncertainty that can surround school funding. “Because if you don’t talk about it, it must not be happening. And then if something really bad happens, like funding is just ripped out from under you, your community is going to say ‘What the heck?’ and ‘Where were you?’ and ‘Why weren’t you telling us that this was going to happen?'”
This week, hosts Joel Gagne and Carole Dorn-Bell discuss the importance of putting your best foot forward with kindergarten parents as it’s often their first experience with the school district.
Gagne and Dorn-Bell share stories from their own experiences to help schools make informed decisions about communicating with new families.
In this episode, Mark Kingseed, former mayor of Centerville, Ohio, discusses the value of local governance in public schools, the future of community-based schools and the relationship between local schools and their communities.
Kingseed, who served as mayor of the Dayton-area community for 12 years beginning in 2003, says it’s critical that a city to work hand-in-hand with the local school board.
Strong schools make strong communities, he says, and help draw young families that put down roots for 20 or 30 years.
This week, Meg Ansara, founding partner at 270 Strategies, talks with Joel Gagne about increasing engagement with the community, the importance of school principals and the future of public education.
Ansara credits her own education growing up in Massachusetts, as shaping her view on the topic.
“At a personal level, I feel like there’s no more important work than working on public education,” Ansara says. “I myself experienced as I got older so many of the opportunities that I received, as well as the sense of opportunity, really comes from the educational privilege that I got. For me that translates into a deep sense of responsibility in terms of making sure that every American child has the same great opportunity and access to a high-quality education.”
In this episode, Carole Dorn-Bell and Joel Gagne talk about how to use the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year.
The bottom line: It’s not wise to just turn off the lights or go on cruise control.
The less chaotic summertime can be a great chance to learn new forms of social media, prepare newsletters, conduct polling or manage outreach for an upcoming fall ballot.
“Summer goes away quickly, and so before you know it you are right on top of some of those publications and the need to get those out,” Dorn-Bell says. “So take advantage of the bit of luxury of time that you have with those and get those done.”
In this episode, Kirk Koennecke, the Superintendent at Graham Local Schools in Ohio, and Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association, talk about the unique needs and challenges facing rural and small schools.
Pratt tells host Carole Dorn-Bell that it’s a timely discussion because of the climate in Washington, D.C.
“When we go around the U.S. talking to different groups, this is rural education and rural small schools’ 15 minutes of fame right now,” Pratt says. “I think in Washington, they’ve paid attention, and rural is definitely a buzzword. It’s a positive culture that we have to take advantage of, and tell our story and be that voice to help all rural schools and communities.”
This week, Carole talks with Emily Fermier about American Sign Language (ASL) and its increase in popularity among high school and university students. Emily has taught ASL at both the high school and university level for the past 14 years. Emily notes that in high schools and universities, the number of schools offering ASL is increasing in fact it has been a 67% increase from 1990 to 2013, in the # of students taking ASL as a foreign language. The surge in popularity as a foreign language can “be credited to… it being out there more, people seeing interpreters, people seeing Deaf people and sign language on TV, in movies, and really wanting to learn more about the language and the Deaf Community.”
“There’s something about sign language that is very public and private at the same time… it’s a secret language.” — Carole Dorn-Bell
Today, the day before the US Elections we speak with Amanda Morris and Jennifer Economus, both experts in school communications. We discuss this particular election cycle and how these politics relate to education. This year, in contrast to other years, the national discussion hasn’t included education and there seems to be a disconnect between the national stage and the local stage.
The Absence of Public Education
In many areas, there has been a push to keep local education separate from the federal. The focus and push is to keep control local. Regardless of this push, the absence of discussion about public education in this presidential election cycle seems strange, but potentially good. Perhaps politicians and the American public are satisfied with education, or confident that local school districts are doing a good job.
Dialogue is important, and we need to make sure that we are still talking about education, so that we do not fall away from the minds of the public.