About OUR SCHOOLS for OUR CHILDREN
Welcome to Our Schools for Our Children
"Knowledge is power" -- the power to take your seat at the table where decisions are made about your children's education, confident that you have sufficient background information to ask the right questions, detect misleading statements, and help make wise choices that will ensure the best possible education for our young people.
Never accept the idea that decisions should be made for you by other people who are more "educated," or that parents are not qualified to choose for their own children. Never assume that the position a person holds is evidence of his/her wisdom and integrity. Never believe that others have the right to exclude you from planning and evaluating your students' education. Educating your children is both your right and your responsibility.
Traditionally, the school bureaucracy has preferred that parents play a passive role in education, acting only as field trip chaperones, room mothers, fund raisers, sports supporters, and making sure homework gets done. Little information was shared with parents except at parent conferences regarding report cards, and sending home a Student-Parent Handbook telling the family about school rules. Communication was one-way -- from school to home.
The 21st century, with instant two-way communication around the globe, has changed our lives. We are now used to sharing our opinions by email, facebook, chats, twitter, blogs, etc. We can find out anything we want to know with Google and online searches. It would be ludicrous for educational bureaucracies to continue to keep information from stakeholders, and for small groups of school officials to make important decisions behind closed doors.
It is also foolish and short-sighted to exclude students themselves from decision-making. Preparing students to be "college and career ready" means teaching them how to consider their options and make informed choices affecting their futures. All stakeholders, including students, must communicate, collaborate, think critically and creatively to plan better education opportunities for our young leaders of tomorrow.
Sadly, our children's teachers are also far too often excluded from planning and decision-making processes, even though they are the front line providers of instruction, and in many cases have much more experience and knowledge of effective teaching techniques than administrators, in addition to first-hand knowledge of their students. Ideas and programs for improving education should never simply be top-down dictates from the district office. Rather, thoughtful input must be actively sought and rigorous discussion encouraged throughout the school organization and community. These are OUR schools for OUR children, and decision-making must be inclusive of all stakeholders if it is to meet the needs of our communities and our world.
So.... that is the reason for this website. There has been a deplorable lack of capacity within our school system to establish open, freely-flowing two-way communication throughout the school community. The need for honest transparency has never been greater. New structures and processes are desperately needed, and they are not coming from the district itself. School district administration has a big learning curve to develop the capacity to be innovative in including all stakeholders through genuine engagement. We can help them!
School newsletters are infrequent and share limited types of information. We need daily reports of what is actually happening on school campuses and in classrooms. We all have stories to share, good ideas to suggest, possible solutions to problems. Students text their thoughts to each other on their cell phones and use Twitter, YouTube, etc. Teachers and school personnel may share ideas in the staff room in a limited way. But parents, students, and staff all need to have free and open access to the truth, not just rumor or the party line "spin" used for PR purposes.
Together we must creatively develop new channels of communicaton and inclusive planning structures, making it possible for all stakeholders to effectively work together to make good things happen in our schools. We need ways to provide quick answers to questions, up-to-the-minute information, and resources to turn to for help. This independent website is one new way for sharing information.
LET'S MAKE GOOD THINGS HAPPEN !
Everyone has the right to ready access to public information, and the responsibility to participate in public decision-making. "It takes a village" to raise a child -- we are developing tomorrow's world leaders today.
Avenal and Kettleman City will have first-class schools where our young people can get a well-rounded education to prepare them for their future. We will all have had a part in making this happen because we will all fully participate.