Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Building Community. Focusing on Drop Out Crisis

I attended the National Dropout Prevention Conference this week along with about 700 other people from around the country. I was a workshop presenter at 8am Monday morning and spent the rest of the time networking with a wide range of people. I want to thank Ed Bates of the Lake County Regional Office of Education for encouraging me to participate. Ed was a co-chair of the conference organizing committee.

I created this concept map to introduce you to the people and organizations I met through workshops, sitting at lunch together and attending a dinner event on Monday. Over the next couple of weeks I'll post some quotes from some of the presentations and I'll reach out to the people I met and invite them to share their workshop presentations so you can learn more about what they talked about.

In this map I also pointed to other information I'd already aggregated about the Drop-out Crisis which is posted in the Tutor/Mentor Library. The real challenge is not finding more ideas, but finding ways to draw more people together to understand and apply these ideas in more places.

A couple of weeks ago I was part of an "Improving the Education System" panel hosted by Becoming We the People and held at The First Unitarian Church in Hyde Park. While the attendance was around a dozen people this was recorded and posted on YouTube so it is available to many more people than the number at this week's conference.

In three week's (Friday, November 4) I'll host the next Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference and the goal will be the same as these other events. We need to find ways to surround youth in poverty areas where the dropout rate is the highest with mentors, tutors and extra learning and enrichment opportunities so we help build aspirations and prepare more youth to come to school every day better prepared to learn.

If you're concerned with the dropout crisis and see mentoring as part of the solution I encourage you to help me build attendance for the Nov. 4 conference. One of the panel discussions will be recorded by Becoming We the People and available on YouTube in the weeks following the conference.

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