Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
– Henry Ford
Schools and the communities they serve are finding creative solutions to meet the changing needs of their student populations. From helping to provide basic school supplies for students to bringing internet access to the rural countryside, schools and the surrounding communities are teaming together to ensure students receive a quality education.
Students in Montgomery County, VA now have access to the internet even when not at school. Montgomery County Public Schools recognized that today’s students require access to the internet to be competitive and to receive a quality education. The trouble is that internet access is not available in this part of rural Virginia. Many students were unable to complete assignments at home that required the use of the internet. In responding to this need, Montgomery Schools are refurbishing school busses to not only transport students, but also act as a WiFi hotspots. School busses will be parked overnight in strategic areas across the county to allow students and their families to connect to the internet free of charge.
The fire department in Stafford County, VA is responding to a different kind of call. No, it’s not a fire emergency, but rather firefighters and members of the community are coming together to ensure that local students start the school year off on the right foot. The Stafford County Fire Department collected, sorted, and distributed school supplies across the county to students in need. This was a huge undertaking that required the firefighters to volunteer many hours outside of their work schedule. The result was that many students who would not normally be prepared were able to start their first day back to school with supplies in hand.
Faculty and staff in Accomack County Public Schools worked with community leaders in a poverty simulation to better understand the needs of their students. Teachers experienced the stress and difficulties associated with living in poverty and gained a better understanding of the needs of their students. When students enter the classroom they do not leave their troubles at the door. As educators, understanding what our students face when they leave school is a powerful tool in supporting them in and out of the classroom.