Many of you may have attended either the terrific career technical education conference convened by State Center Consortium or one of the events with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The core message from both events was the same: a low cost, easily scaled solution to social issues is caring relationships. The student leaders at Fresno Unified figured this out and are on a mission to change the school culture. Their kindness initiative, The Human Element, is spreading like a wildfire throughout the campuses. If you can make being kind cool and bullying evidence of low self-esteem and fear, then you have the makings of a movement.Across the country employers are stepping up to create internships and apprenticeships while creating partnerships with teachers to offer realistic curriculum. Employers realized they were demanding that educators do something they didn’t know how to do—prepare students for a workplace they had never experienced themselves. What works—students developing a sustained relationship with employees. The student sees a path to success and the employers develop a workforce while increasing employee satisfaction.
The best relationship idea—kindergarten teachers meeting every incoming child at their home with their parents or caregivers before school starts. Another, hire moms to be the first referral for discipline problems at school and to be an emissary to head to the home if another step is needed. If we are to melt boundaries, get on the same page and get maximum impact, it’s about changing how we are thinking about solutions. We don’t need more programs, we need to change how we are interacting with one another.