It is fantastic to come up with ideas to make your children’s school district a better place by participating in planning meetings and coming up with solutions.

In August each year for the past several years, Lower Merion Township School District has a meeting to  discuss cultural proficiency and look for ways to build a more culturally proficient school district. Each school in the district is represented at the table. At each school’s table are two administrators from the school, a teacher and a parent. This was the second year in a row I was invited to attend this very important meeting. I was honored to be invited by both my daughter’s high school and my other children’s elementary school. I chose to sit with the elementary school after the principal specifically telephoned me, asking me if I would come and sit with the elementary school again.

Last year at the start of the meeting, the Lower Merion School District Superintendent, Christopher McGinley told the group he wanted to eliminate the achievement gap between black and white students before he retired and he did not want to wait 5, 10 or 15 years to retire. I, as a black parent, was excited by those words and wanted to do what I could to help him achieve his goal.One of my greatest joys is that as part of the parents meeting that came from last year’s meeting an idea that my husband and I had turned into this summer’s successful summer book club. The summer book club was open to all students in all grades at the school. There was a very good level of participation from minority students. What this means is that instead of falling behind this summer, this group of kids read a book, comprehended it, talked about it and participated in activities about what they read. Think about it, kids of all grade levels, races, economic levels got together three times over the course of the summer and together they learned, socialized and had fun.

The meeting last year was successful and I was looking forward to this year’s meeting with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was not disappointed. There is indeed something powerful about sitting in a room with people who want to work together to achieve a goal. There was no hating one group and loving another. Instead, there was simply acknowledgment that there is a problem and that by working to eliminate the achievement gap between black and white students in the school district, the district and the schools would be a better place for all students in Lower Merion Township.

I went to the meeting to talk about making the school district a better place. I went to the meeting to help our team come up with ideas to make Gladwyne Elementary School a better place for my children. Our team came up with ideas that will be implemented NOW, this school year to make the school better and help in the work to eliminate the achievement gap. I am very confident we will be successful.

The reason why these meetings with the school district are successful is because the facilitators, Dr. McGinley and Barbara Moore Williams, do not let you just come up with a plan you will work on someday.

Each team leaves the meeting knowing:

– What needs to be done
– By when
– By whom
– With what
– Evidence of effectiveness

By following this model, the meeting ends with a plan of action that can be taken and taken now. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know I am a big fan of the Take Action Now method of doing things. This method of planning and handling meetings is a good one. It means the participants leave knowing what needs to be done and how to get it done. It also means that things will be accomplished and that real progress can be made. There were many great moments at the meeting and I will be sharing them in future blog articles. For now, I will leave you with one of my favorite take aways from Barbara Moore Williams, ” We are the change we were waiting for.” So, the question for you this fantastic day is what are you going to do with this information?