The Chamber’s Public Education Advocacy Committee focuses on two primary activities: communicating the importance of K-12 public education to the broader community and serving as advocates for important education issues, such as school funding, with our local and state elected officials.
Chaired by Robert Lipman, CEO of Lipman Brothers Inc., the committee met on April 15 at the Boy Scouts of America to hear an update from Hal Cato, executive director of Oasis Center, on Nashville’s Youth Master Planning process. Mayor Karl Dean has formed a task force to develop a coordinated approach to addressing the many life factors that affect a young person’s success: including education, health, home stability and out-of-school activities. The plan is scheduled to be completed by July 2010.
Committee members discussed the need for every child in Nashville to have an engaged and supportive parent. If a child’s parent is not present or capable, that role needs to be filled by another adult relative, mentor or advocate. Knowing that many children in our city do not have this critical support, the committee brainstormed about possible next steps toward making this a reality for every child and encouraged the Youth Master Plan to make this a priority.
The committee also spent time considering ways in which Nashvillians can be involved in Metro Schools by volunteering. One such way is for adults to share their interest or hobby by sponsoring an afterschool club. Stephanie Brakefield, the afterschool club coordinator at J.T. Moore Middle School, told the committee that her school offers more than 25 student clubs throughout the school year, from the “hula hooping club” to the “rock & roll history” club. The PENCIL Foundation performs background checks on the volunteers leading the clubs and 2/3 of the student body at the school is involved in clubs or sports, giving these middle school students a safe and engaging way to spend their out-of-school time at minimal cost.
If you are a Chamber member and are interested in attending a future meeting of the Public Education Advocacy Committee, contact Marc Hill at 743-3155 or email@example.com.