Monday, November 06, 2006

Principal for a Day should focus on neighborhoods, not just schools

Once again Chicago and other cities hosted a Principal for a Day event that brought CEOs and celebrities into Chicago schools. The goal was to energize leaders to become supporters of education efforts in Chicago. This year there was a concerted effort to raise money for CPS from this effort.

While this is needed, I'd like to see an effort that encouraged businesses to adopt neighborhoods, not just schools. Such a strategy would reinforce the 24/365 learning that is required to help a youth succeed in school. It would point business leaders to non-school tutoring/mentoring and youth development programs, not just the programs offered by CPS during its 9 month schedule and range of summer programs.

It would give more opportunities for business volunteers to become engaged and to stay involved for more time than a one-day visit to a school. Such a strategy would not only build stronger relationships with youth who need extra adults to mentor and build career aspirations, but would also help people beyond poverty become more informed of the complex issues that all need to be addressed at the same time, and for many years, if we're to change education outcomes in some inner city neighborhoods.

You can see our vision of this strategy in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of the web site. If you know one of the leaders who spent a day in one of Chicago's schools this month, I encourage you to encourage that person to consider support for non school programs in the same neighborhood.

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