Friday, March 09, 2007
In a previous post I provided a graphic intended to encourage people to think of the day in three segments, of school hours, 3-5 after-school hours and after 5pm evening hours.
In another I posted a graphic encouraging business leaders to point to school based, and non-school programs, when encouraging employees and customers to be volunteers or make donations.
Today I'm making another effort to encourage out of the box thinking. By that, I mean, let's think of solutions that are not focused at the school building or school day as being the only distribution channel we need to reach kids, build aspirations, and help them learn what they need to know to go through college and enter jobs and careers.
In a variety of forums such as at Omidyar.net I'm meeting people who are innovating ways to connect networks. Today I talked with Richard Cherwitz, of the University of Texas. Dr. Cherwitz is an innovative thinker who seeks to "encourage academic engagement and collaborations across disciplines within the university community, as well as collaborations and partnerships with community that might produce solutions to society's most vexing problems."
In another post I've written about an advocacy project of the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools. The leaders of this movement are basically saying that all the money spend on the government funding of No Child Left Behind won't have the desired result in high poverty neighborhoods because this money does not also fund the learning supports that are so important to help kids be able to learn and succeed in school.
While this is one of the most focused efforts I've seen, it still is not out of the box. It focuses on efforts that reach kids in the school, during the school day or right after. It does not focus on all the other people and activities that can mentor learning, or on the role of businesses in pulling kids through school and into careers.
In other articles I illustrate the use of maps to focus attention, and resources to every poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region, rather than to just a few visible areas. If generals in war can use maps to point troops at enemy territory, why can we teach leaders to use maps in our war on poverty.
My goal in using graphics is that they convey ideas more clearly than words. In a section of the T/MC web library, I post numerous other examples of how visual tools can aid innovation and collaboration.
As I write, my goal is that visual thinkers at universities and in industry, and others who are involved with complex problem solving, will respond to the vision of Dr. Cherwitz and reach out to help the Tutor/Mentor Connection in its efforts to create an army of leaders who think out of the box, and are willing to connect, collaborate, learn from each other and in short, build a better operating system for helping kids living in poverty connect with mentors and learning resources that help them move more successfully through school and in to careers.