Chicago, ILAugust 31, 2010
I've done some work with the Sunnyside, WA School District over the last couple of years and want to share a story of how one teacher had massive impact.
Sunnyside High School has over 1500 students. 80% of the students are Hispanic, many of them recent immigrants. For years, the school struggled with a chronic challenge: It was hard to connect with the parents of their students. The parents often worked several jobs and there were also some cultural/language reasons that the parents did not come to school for trainings or open house nights.
Here's what an educator named David Rodriguez did. He worked with his students to write a highly entertaining tele-novela type of play completely in Spanish. The play included many asides about what parents could do to help their student succeed and the play was performed entirely by students. The students also marketed the play directly to the parents.
In its third year, guess how many parents attended: Over 500! Parent night went from a few scattered rows toÂ a standing room only crowd.
One educator, with one idea, directed at a chronic challenge was able to get unimagined results. The good news is that David is not alone. As I've traveled speaking at over 1,000 schools, I"m always stunned by how much impact one empowered educator can have when they take initiative and proactively solve problems in partnership with others.