I just returned from a trip to New York and Boston. Last Saturday, I was invited to join a group of education reform activists in Brooklyn who were having their annual picnic at Seaview Park. It was a wonderful day of conversation, strategizing and networking.
Last week I visited Harvard Graduate School of Education to make contact there. It has over 100 years of experience developing experts in education issues and I hope to tap into some of that talent.
While on campus I visited the Kennedy School of Government, Office of Career Advancement where we will send our intern proposals in hopes of finding talent to help us grow our organization. Those studying there are often mid-career and come with experience in government and business.
Besides our recruiting of retirees and entry level workers to provide assistance in the classroom on a part-time basis, there is another level of need in terms of growing our organization that draws on different skills. We will be inviting those with those skills to join us as well. Keep an eye out for our postings on our website for those specific jobs.
In my conversations last week, I was often challenging myself to express our mission in the most concise terms. It became clear to me that what we are most about is lowering the dropout rate of high schoolers. Of course, this project involves education from the earliest ages right through to high school. But the sad fact is that at-risk students dropout at a rate over 50% and 75% of people in the penal system are high school dropouts. This is one of the few, and perhaps the best, metric that we can keep track of. If we do our job and make schools a place where students want to come and are challenged and supported in their creativity, we will see immediate results in lower dropout rates. Let’s do it!