Friday, December 13, 2013

The Wealth of Parent Communities

Certainly not every school has parents with financial wealth, but every school has parents with a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills.  That fact has really started to sink in for me this year.  Starting last year, a motivated parent at Vermont Commons School began surveying parents and compiling a Parent Resources Inventory.  It asked them what they have to share that could add to the curriculum and student learning.

At the beginning of this year, I perused the list, mostly out of interest, and immediately possibilities began jumping out at me.  A parent who does climate change research on Vermont forests; perfect for my senior Ecological Economics class!  A father who has spent a lot of time working in central and eastern Africa; perfect for my students who are collaborating on a project with students in Mzuzu, Malawi!  And another parent who is a professor of philosophy & religion at St. Michael's College, just down the road; what an opportunity for my 9th grade religions unit.

It's a win-win-win. The parents are honored to be invited to help teach a class.  The teacher and the students get an enriched curriculum and experience.  And the school develops an even stronger relationship with its parent community.  What's not to like?!

Check out this video I made of our visiting philosophy & religion professor, and think about the depth of thought and discussion these 9th grade students are having as a result!

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