Better Together in Community

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All are meant to live in community. Following hurricanes and floods, communities come together. After incidents like the Las Vegas tragedy, communities rally together. When two young girls lose their mother to cancer, the community circles around in support. We are all at our best when we are in community. Being alone and isolated for long periods of time doesn’t bring the happiness that communal life can bring.

 

We are living in a time when the power of community can heal trauma, impact the effects of mental illness, strength our compassion for others, and rebuild crumbling social structures. Learning how to live in community begins at home and continues into our schools. Schools are laboratories for community building that are maximized when they occur in tandem with a variety of partners.

 

Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and write in community with some incredible educators from around the country as a part of the #EDWriteNow project. The concepts of the project was to bring ten writers together in one location to write 5000 words each about how we should reconsider and change a variety of aspects of education. With the support of Routledge Publishing, we completed this amazing project in July that will support an organization that believes in this power of community,  The Will to Live Foundation.

 

The focus of my writing for this project revolved around the question of how we can change the way that we think about partnerships in schools. Below is an excerpt from my chapter.

 

As we move from a time when it takes a village to support all children to a time where it takes a global village and deep partnerships to do the same work, it is essential that we begin to shift the understanding of what it means to partner with schools in a way that creates a genuine modern community around students and adult learners.

 

Many schools are pursuing new and different community partnerships to support their modern learning environments. In some places, these are emerging out of strengths as resources in the community are entering the district to both supplement and supplant. They are also surrounding good and excellent programming to give students additional experiences and opportunities. In other locations, partnership development is coming from shrinking budgets and the need to supplement classroom teaching because of teacher shortages or lack of supplies.

 

We are in a time when it takes a cohort of educators and partners to bring the rich learning experiences that kids need. It is essential that all classrooms, schools, and districts continue to look at community partnerships as a way to bring modern learning experiences to all kids. Seeking these partnerships is the right and moral thing to do for all of our students as the learning outcomes that we seek grow more and more complex.

 

I’m excited to see how this book comes together, and I encourage you to read the blogs of the other contributors as we approach the publish date in December. Jeff Zoul addressed changing the way we think about change by looking at how and why we need to make changes with today’s changing times. Next, Tony Sinanis wrote about changing the way we see learning, a vital conversation. Third, Kayla Delzer, followed up with ideas about changing the way we think about relationships in school. In previewing the fourth chapter of our book, Starr Sackstein, dove into changing the way we think about assessment. Tom Murray touched on changing the way we think about technology in the classroom. The amazing Sanee Bell wrote on the importance of teacher engagement. The genius of Amber Teamann shines through as she wrote about the need to change the way we lead.

 

It is amazing how community shapes our lives, fills our souls, and shines a bright light on the best that we can be as individuals and as a collective. The weight of these times and its tragedies are best healed together in spaces of comfort, compassion, and intentional contemplation. Let us grow our places of learning to realize all that is possible when we come together as one.