Now is the time for outreach and advocacy to support Student Success Act
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Engagement and advocacy will be school board members’ watchwords in the coming months.
The Oregon Department of Education’s release of the Student Success Act toolkit signals now is the time to start the hard work required by the law.
The act calls on school districts to engage with communities to create a system that is responsive to all students’ needs. School board members have an opportunity, perhaps unique in Oregon’s history, to open discussions with families and young people to benefit the community for years to come.
Admittedly, the act asks a lot of school leaders in the coming months. With a focus on equity and supporting traditionally underserved communities, this engagement could at times be uncomfortable for many communities. Because school districts enfold widely diverse political opinions, the outreach and community engagement requirements could lead to difficult community discussions as school board members find a path forward.
This is the work that must be done, though, and if it’s done well, there’s every reason to believe it will reap rewards in increased attendance, improved graduation rates and better student outcomes.
Engagement also means advocacy. As school districts explore sometimes significant changes, school board members must reach out to their communities, showing them the need and acting as cheerleaders for new programs and processes.
While school leaders are talking with their communities, they will also be called on at times to engage with the Legislature to show them how the Student Success Act benefits schools and what else schools might need.
We have a new resource to help: Legislative Advocacy 101, a series of articles starting today in Legislative Highlights. The series will include practical advice and techniques, directly from your legislative team, that you can use in your advocacy efforts with legislators.
This first article is about a crucial relationship-building piece, namely being a reliable information source. Consider how you can put yourself in a position to be your legislators’ favorite source.
We asked for increased funding for schools, and this is the work that comes with it.
But it is also a shining opportunity to dig deeper into what makes schools great and share with your communities a dream of student success.