Sunday, December 2, 2007

Promoting Community Schools

RE: "evaluating EPSB policies to ensure equity in promotion of all district schools"

When I was head of the Westglen Advocacy Group, I began exploring options to market and promote the school. I discovered that a number of schools had websites; we did not. I heard that some schools were funded in part by societies, parent tuition or cultural groups which supported their program of choice. We did not have this additional funding.

I turned to EPSB to see what promotional support they could offer. I saw brochures advertising the many alternative programs. I asked if EPSB could put out a brochure highlighting community schools and all they have to offer, but it never materialized.

I've since discovered what may be a reason. Although we have an open boundaries policy, which allows any school having an alternative program to promote to any student across the city...community schools are only permitted to advertise or promote their school within their boundaries. This strikes me as unfair. Open boundaries should be open for all or open for none.

In order for people to understand that community schools are an excellent choice, more equitable promotion is necessary. Given the inadequacy of previous policy, it may require considerable effort to "level the playing field" for community schools. Community schools are not a second-rate, default choice for parents who can't be bothered to find something better. They provide an excellent education, foster strong citizenship and responsibility in their students, and ultimately a sense of belonging and community for all.

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