|the business role in improving math and
(6) Encourage Employees, Especially Those Who Are Parents, and Other Community
Stakeholders To Increase Their Involvement with Local Schools To Help Students
Achieve Challenging Academic Standards
The process of building system-wide capacity to support increased math and
science achievement requires input from all stakeholdersparents, teachers,
students, business and community leaders, elected officials, and others.
"Selling" the process is important, as is an ongoing communications strategy
to engage the public.
We also know that the children who do best in school are those whose
families care about their education and are involved in their learning.
Given the importance of education to the caliber and competency of our
future workforce, many employers have found ways to encourage involvement
by their own employees in helping students learn. Businesses win too by
improving employee morale, productivity, and motivation. Here are a few
options that every employer can consider:
- Create and promote policies that make it possible for employees to be
involved in classroom or after-school activities by providing flextime,
matching leave, job-sharing, or time off.
- Support programs at the worksite or in the community that help train
employees to become involved in education.
- Work with schools to help them better meet the needs of employed parents
through better scheduling of parent/teacher conferences, voice mail, and
parent resource centers in schools.
- Help establish a homework hotline for parents, and support
employee-led efforts that provide mentoring, tutoring, and guidance to
those students most in need.
IN POLICY AND PRACTICE...|
Informing parents and students about academic standards
The Boston Plan for Excellence is a local education foundation which funds
whole-school change in the city's public schools. To generate support for the
district's new academic standards, the Boston Plan is collaborating with the
Boston Public Schools and the daily newspapers to produce two new publications
for parents and citizens. "Great Expectations," funded by BankBoston, John
Hancock Financial Services, and Fidelity Investments, is published four times
each year and inserted pro bono by The Boston Globe into local editions of the
paper. Parents and citizens can also get copies of the colorful tabloid through
the schools, libraries, health centers, and other sites. In all, 200,000 copies
are being distributed. With a 300,000+ circulation, The Boston Herald is
dedicating one page each month to "Learning Matters," with information for
parents on how to help their children meet the new academic standards. Each
issue includes a feature specific to the standards; one issue described the
"what and why" of new state tests, for instance, while another issue suggested
how to help a child with a science project. For more information, contact Mary
Ann Cohen at 617-350-7600.
Engaging Students in Math
The Greater Milwaukee Education Trust's MATH, IT'S NOT A PROBLEM! is a public
information campaign targeted at stimulating middle school students' interest in
math achievement. Components of this campaign include: (1) videos featuring
application of math in real life situationsincluding how to use math to lay out
an itinerary for getting to Sturgis with the CEO of Harley Davidson and
demonstrations of math usage at other local businesses, including Allen-Bradley
and the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. These videos were sent to every
eighth-grade math teacher in the district along with a teacher's guide; (2)
movie trailers featuring Motown stars talking about the importance of math for
kids' futures; and (3) the annual MATH GAMEover 200,000 middle school students
across the state each year for the past 5 years have played this applied math
game. Local popular radio stations and other media outlets team up with The
Trust, local corporate sponsors, and Milwaukee math teachers to develop all
questions and highlight the 613 prize winners a year. For more information,
contact Edward Anhalt at 414-287-4145.
Connecting Parents, Students, and Schools through Voice Mail
The American Business Collaboration for Quality Dependent Care started the
Bridge Project in 1995, which connects parents and schools through voice
messaging. At the end of the school day, a teacher simply picks up any phone
and records a summary of the learning experience. The brief message tells
parents about homework assignments, study expectations and how parents can help.
When parents call to listen to the message, they can find out how to manage and
support their children's learning at home. The American Business Collaboration,
composed of 21 corporations, including American Express, Allstate Insurance, and
NYNEX, funded implementation of the Bridge Project in 102 schools which serve
children of their employees. The project is currently being expanded to more
than 225 additional schools nationwide. For more information, contact Jerold
Bauch at 615-322-8080.