Monday, April 5, 2010

Ideas in Education -- Adopt a School

When I drove down highways in California, I noticed signs every few miles naming the companies that had "adopted" that stretch of roadway. These companies were responsible to keep their adopted area clean of litter. My friend who lives in Oakland suggested that companies could adopt schools.

When a company adopts a school, their employees could spend a few hours each week helping the students. Surely some of the employees have talents beyond those for which they are hired. Perhaps they are artists, musicians, crafts practitioners, skilled repairers. Students would benefit from learning these skills as well as from small-group or individual help with basic academics.

The company could train older students in the skills needed to work there. The company could provide equipment for the classrooms: computers, tools, instruments. A company doesn't need to be wealthy to contribute. A few hours a week from one employee, or the company owner, would be a real help in the classroom.

I wouldn't limit this adopt-a-school idea to companies. Individuals and families can do the same.

Philadelphia has an After School Activity Program that runs criminal checks on people who want to volunteer in the schools, and then pairs the interests of the volunteers with the desires of the schools.

This kind of program can be expanded.

This particular idea isn't radical. Some of the ideas in future columns will be more challenging.


  1. Thanks for the credit . . .

    It can work. Companies should have a stake in the results. Preparing students to be smart enough to be possible future employees. They need an intelligent hiring pool. Students are the future of our companies. Students are THE FUTURE for all of us The fix starts in pre-school.

  2. I've been meaning to tell you that the one-room schools were really cool. The older kids taught the younger (see "Understood Betsy" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher) and it wasn't necessary to always worry about what "grade" you were in. You could just study what you were working on.