Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seeing the Opportunity

In discussing the issue of how Columbia needs to appeal to families, a friend said this:

The thing that I rarely hear, but needs to be put out there, is that Columbia presents an opportunity to be involved.

If you seek a high performing school district because you just want to get your kids out the door and don't want to engage the school system very much, a high performing school district is probably what you need. However, if you want your child to learn more than academics, and want them to lean about other people, Columbia is the place to be.

There exists every opportunity for a child to learn and succeed at Columbia schools, but only if you are willing to be engaged help make that happen. Being educated in a Columbia school brings a lot more questions, and I think if kids are asking those questions, the kids, and the families grow from that dialogue. I see a lot of that in the parents of Columbia students.

This was so beautifully said that I didn't want to change a word of it, so it is used here with permission. Do me a favor and read it again.

"An opportunity to be involved." Our schools in Columbia are supported just as much by committed, involved parents as they are by highly qualified, devoted staff. A principal may set the tone of how the school operates, but it takes teachers, support staff, students, parents, and other family members to truly make it come alive. To the extent that the school welcomes such involvement, it opens the door to a better education for all students.

And this opportunity is not just about schools. Living in Columbia offers the opportunity to be involved in Village life and in the greater workings of Columbia as a whole. Or it should. When new residents reach out to get involved, are they welcomed? Not always.

If Columbia holds an appeal to those who wish to be involved, then we need to make sure that we are ready for them to get involved. We need to be open to addressing the issues that are meaningful to them. We need to be willing to stop talking and listen.

Opportunities for engagement. Learning about other people. Growing from dialogue.

Columbia can be an exciting place to live, learn, and grow.

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