organizations/newsletters on best practices in public schools? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-06-2013, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm very new to being a public school parent -- my older DD started kindergarten at an urban public school last month.

As I've begun to get involved with the PTA and various other groups of parents that want to advocate for changes within the school and the school district, I feel like a lot of what we discuss is probably re-inventing the wheel.

Is there some nonprofit, thinktank, or other organization that summarizes successes that other public schools are having, experiments that worked, new research, best practices?

I'm less interested in the issues of standardized testing and academic achievement (although I would love to learn if there are schools/school districts/teachers/etc. who have found ways to opt-out or minimize the impact of the testing on their teaching and learning!), but more interested in "whole child" issues like:
recess policies
lunch policies/management
discipline/classroom management
being a school and parent community that are inclusive of economic, racial, and language diversity
handwashing
parent /PTA fundraising
hands-on learning
running PTA meetings that people want to attend and get involved with
etc.

In my ideal world, I could sign up for some newsletter or e-newsletter that would send me ideas and reports from around the country every week/month!
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#2 of 9 Old 10-06-2013, 12:38 PM
 
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Try nea.org?

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#3 of 9 Old 10-06-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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The What Works Clearinghouse has stuff wrt discipline and behavior.  Check it out once the government gets its act together.

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#4 of 9 Old 10-06-2013, 06:19 PM
 
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Well the national PTA website has a lot of stuff on good PTA meetings and fundraising. It might have info on some of your other concerns, too. They have a LOT of info.


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#5 of 9 Old 10-06-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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That is an excellent question and I hope the suggestions keep flowing!


 
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#6 of 9 Old 10-07-2013, 06:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by beanma View Post
 

Well the national PTA website has a lot of stuff on good PTA meetings and fundraising. It might have info on some of your other concerns, too. They have a LOT of info.

 

I agree - the PTA/O site has a lot of info. 

 

Re: new parent wanting to create change...  I suggest just getting involved first. Help where the school says they need help and where your interests are and then if you still want to create some change (on the individual school level) start with the thing most important to you.  I know that in time I came to realize the hows and whys of several "less than ideal" things in my DC's schools, which helped give a better picture on the potential and limitations (and best avenues!) for change. 


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#7 of 9 Old 10-07-2013, 07:08 AM
 
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I have some experience with working on creating a more inclusive parent volunteer community (that was one of the things I focused on at my DC's school).  This site has a lot of good research: http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research  Our school also read a book called "Beyond Bakesales" that discussed how to get parents involved in school in ways that go deeper than fundraising. Focusing on communication that reaches families in your community. Be sure to arrange meeting times that are sensitive to working parents and childcare concerns. Be *very* sensitive of meeting times and stick to that! If a meeting is said to end at 8, for instance, wrap it up. Discourage micro-management. If a job is not being filled the way other volunteers want -- let that go, imo. There is nothing more discouraging to volunteering than folks moving in and doing a job that someone else volunteered to do just because it wasn't being done the way someone else wants. Grrr...  Always remember that there are people volunteering in ways that we don't see. Also, keep in mind that people give in ways that reflect what's important to them. Our swanky evening fundraiser was not especially diversely attended but our events that involved children's work or performance were always packed to the gills.   


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#8 of 9 Old 10-07-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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Discourage micro-management. If a job is not being filled the way other volunteers want -- let that go, imo. There is nothing more discouraging to volunteering than folks moving in and doing a job that someone else volunteered to do just because it wasn't being done the way someone else wants. Grrr...  

 So true. I had to give up the volunteer newsletter job I did last year for dd1's school (for which I am imminently qualified with a degree in Journalism and a current paid position elsewhere managing a newsletter and social media with a reach of 25000 people) in part because of micro-management on the part of the new chair of the parent org. I don't think anyone else had any issue with the way I did it last year, but I just can't work with this mom. Just too much stress in my life. 


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#9 of 9 Old 10-10-2013, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't worry, I have already signed up to volunteer in many ways. But part of what I see happening in conversations and meetings among parents is people trying to figure out solutions to things that are totally not unique to this school. And I'm a researcher at heart, so my way of coping with a lot of the insanity I see is to start learning about how other places do things.
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