Telling Stories and Lending a Hand

Last week I was doing some reading and came across a post that made me very happy. It is about a new project to find ways to crowd source the notion of helping out in our local schools. Dave Eggers, the author of the wonderful book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, had a dream — he wanted to find ways to connect with and help local schools. He acted on that dream. Behold, Once Upon a School. I’ve been relatively vocal here about my recent dissatisfaction with schools in general. I’m now seeing the public school system at work and I am concerned for how it is all going to turn out for our kids. I’m in school myself and I am looking at all of it with a very critical eye … I have become very interested in helping to find ways to connect with and improve education — across the board.

I’m lucky in that my job allows me to feel good about what goes on in higher education. What I am concerned about is that most of our students aren’t getting to experience great learning environments every single day. They get some good ones and some less than perfect ones. I think it is even more spotty in the K-12 space — not because of the teachers, but because of the unfortunate realities of the system. I watched Dave’s presentation and fell in love with the idea of finding new ways to connect with my own local schools. I went to the site, put in my area of expertise, added my zip code, clicked submit and waited to see what classroom I could spend time in. There was the reality right in front of me, not a single classroom in State College. What could we be doing more of as a community to connect with teachers and schools? We’re a powerful bunch, what should be done?