Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Schools and Community

This past week I watched both “Word Wars” and Dave Egger’s TEDTalk presentation. Word Wars is a documentary about competitive Scrabble playing and follows four players during the nine month journey to the 2002 National Scrabble Tournament. Dave Egger’s presentation has to do with local and community people pitching in to help students succeed. What do these have in common? Well, the documentary several times follows one of the players, Marlon Hill, to a local high school where he starts an afterschool Scrabble club where he gets kids together and gives the students tips and attention.

Now not every community will have members that are as obsessive about their particular gifts or interests, but each community will have dozens of people who are very good at a specific, and often quirky and interesting, skill.

So what connects this to Dave Egger’s talk is an idea: administrations always need more time to push school wide plans and teachers can always use more time for professional development and interdisciplinary collaboration. So why not give administrations and teachers extra time by having a community skills day? There could be an opening assembly that would then break down into seminars and demonstrations throughout the building that students would sign up for in advance. Community members who don’t feel like leading a session could be in charge of getting students from one session to the next.

Such a day event could happen each semester or trimester or whatever. Not only would it give faculty and staff some extra time to work on development, such a community day would foster, well, community and show that many talents, not just academic, are recognized and appreciated.

No comments: