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- For the past 20 years, my life in Athens has revolved around my work with public middle- and high-school students as a teacher, principal, and student services director. More than anything else, it is clear that students want to be engaged, and want to have successful lives, but some simply don’t know how to put themselves into positions to do these things. This is an area where local government can have an impact that will be transformative.
- In the recent report “The Iceberg Effect”, The National Superintendents Roundtable confirmed what social science research has indicated for decades: that even the best educational system only accounts for a minority of the influence on children’s educational attainment. We must leverage our planning, economic development, and public health resources to ensure that these operations are focused on positive outcomes for our children and grandchildren, so the School District can make the most of their efforts.
- We can expand our use of programs such as the Great Promises Partnership that provide young people with employment in the Unified Government. This may involve constructing sidewalks, developing horticulture skills through planting trees in public properties, or working with younger children at our community centers. Not only do these experiences help develop early life job skills, they allow young people to make professional contacts (“social capital”) that will pay dividends in their years ahead. In addition, they keep these students engaged with community institutions, ties that have demonstrated impacts in keeping kids on the right path and avoiding the routes that could hamper their health and long-term prospects.