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12 Simple Ways You Can Advocate for Your Public School…
- Write a positive review on GreatSchools.org, the school’s Facebook page, or Google reviews. Comments are often left by community members who have no personal experience with the school, or by someone upset about a single issue. Giving overall positive feedback can go a long way in how the school is perceived by the community and potential students/families.
- Contact a realtor in your area to tell them you would be happy to speak with clients moving into the neighborhood about the school. Many homebuyers are hesitant to purchase a house in certain school districts based on reviews, gossip, or information from realtors. Offering positive feedback to potential homebuyers can be very powerful.
- Attend your neighborhood association meeting and offer to speak about the school or answer questions. One person with a poor impression can spread negativity very quickly. Offer to speak and just let people know where your kids go to school and what your experience has been. Be ready with personal, positive stories.
- Talk to your neighbors, especially those with young children who might be thinking about schools. It is surprising how many families shop around for schools, when sometimes the best opportunity is right down the street. It helps to know that families who live nearby think highly of the neighborhood school.
- Dispel myths with facts. Often a community or neighborhood will be labeled “high crime” because many people talk about small things. Use verified information when you can in communicating to families and neighbors – for example, take a look at police crime maps or get data from local police.
- Volunteer so you can see things first hand. Often myths like “the school is so overcrowded that kids meet in closets” perpetuate, even amongst neighbors who have never visited school.
- Encourage neighbors with young children to check the school out at community events like game night, a fun run, or multi-cultural night. Meeting people and having a sense for a school community can help inform enrollment decisions.
- Make sure neighbors with young children and new families know about enrollment dates, open houses, incoming kindergarten meet ups, etc. Tell them who to contact, important dates, and how to get on email lists.
- Grab a few parents or friends and a couple of bags and do some light clean up when you go to pick up children from school. Picking up garbage that appears when snow melts or after a windy day can make a big improvement. Neighbors seeing neighbors and parents who care, speaks volumes. Better yet, plan a clean-up day to plant some flowers and pull some weeds, or join in if your school already has one planned.
- Talk up academics. It’s easy to get lost in neighborhood concerns, discipline, one teacher who had a bad day. We expect our schools to be so many things for our children and community. If you can focus on the little successes your child, or a child you know, is having in the classroom that can be very powerful.
- Visit the Wisconsin Public Education Network to get more information, access resources, and connect with other advocates of public education.
- Vote. Exercise your right to vote at all elections, including spring primaries and mid-term elections. Investigate the position of candidates on public education funding. Learn about referenda for our public schools and vote in support of them. Share information about elections and how they affect our public schools with your networks.