Friday, October 3, 2008

Ten + things anyone can do

When is the last time you visited your local school? Was it to volunteer? Participate in a blood drive? Drop off can goods for a food drive? Do you know who your child eats lunch with, regardless of their age? Would you let your child spend 6-8 hours, for 180 days with strangers? Then...you need to get to know your student's teachers, administrators, and counselors?

We hear the excuses, I don't have children, I work and don't have time, I am in the military and deployed, I don't feel comfortable at the school, they need to learn to be independent, my parents never volunteered in the schools why should I?, I didn't graduate from high school and don't want to go to my child's school...the list goes on. No time? No excuses...there is always something someone can do.

What is a parent or concerned tax payer to do?

This list is not inclusive nor listed in any priority. Comments and recommendations are always welcome.

1. Visit the school. Whether you are a parent or a tax payer, check on the ROI of the taxes you pay.

2. Visit the websites. Most schools, school districts, and state's Departments of Education provide information, FAQs, and links to submit questions on their websites. Don't own a computer? Stop by your local library. Don't know how to use a computer? Stop by your local library. Many libraries offer free computer classes. Are you a computer geek? Volunteer to teach a computer class at the local library.

3. Have a Target Card? Know someone who does? Anyone with a Target credit card can designate a school to receive a small percentage of the card use. Target allows computer users to see how much your local school or your Alma mater receives. Target pays the school, not the school board, and many people are surprised when they visit the Target Community website to see how much their school has received. Some are surprised that their school is not listed in the database yet. Encourage someone from the school to ensure the school is listed.
Target's Community: Take Charge of Schools

4. Shop at Office Depot for school supplies. No card needed. When you check out, tell the clerk you want to designate a particular school to receive 5% of your next school supply purchase. Visit your local Office Depot store to find a listing of "5% Back to Schools" ID numbers or designate the school of your choice at order confirmation. Your local schools appreciate every donation they can pick up.

5. Do you have an UPromise account? Parents do you have or do you know someone with an Upromise account? Besides saving for your own child’s college you can designate a school to receive a portion of your rewards. UPromise School Fundraising

6. Join the local PTA/PTSA or give the gift of membership. Schools are relying on support from their parent student groups and clubs. Schools that collaborate with their parent, teacher, and student groups, create a foundation to combine resources and efforts of all student and teacher needs.

7. Check your schools to see what support they need. Do they recycle print cartridges and old cell phones? Do they recycle newspapers? Do they encourage community participation in school events? Find out and spread the word. Many schools have cut back on snail mailing newsletters because they can distribute news electronically. Get involved and find out. Don't settle.

8. Host a study group in your home. With everyone watching the budget, even teens are cutting down on driving and hanging out. Why not host a study/movie night at your home and get to know the other children/young adults that your child hangs out with? Rebuild the community connection.

9. Coke Rewards - In July 2008, Coca Cola expanded their rewards program to allow point collectors to donate points to up to five schools. Someone from the school must register the school before donations can be made. Cokc Rewards

10. Check your local businesses. Some businesses support the local schools by making donations. Be sure to shop those businesses and celebrate student successes. Remember, the youth of today are growing into the leaders of tomorrow.

11. Do you have a friend that is an educator? The easiest thing to do...just ask. You might be surprised as requests range from donating box tops, Tyson chicken labels, Campbell's soup labels to help the school earn credits to purchase items in support of students...to showing up with lunch one day. Random acts of kindness can change the attitudes and environment.

12. Self educate. Learn about the local school and the district, check out the budgets posted online, find out who your school board members are and attend a meeting, find out who the advocates are for education and check their websites. If any of these items listed are not occurring...then take initiative and start something.

13. Is everything going great in your school district? Find out what our students are doing online. Schools around the nation are participating in Flat Classroom Projects, inclusion when a student is diagnosed with cancer, and blogging for causes adults never hear about. Technology integration for the digital natives keeps the students engaged, not enraged.

Do you have additional ideas? Leave a comment.
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