Boston — Every school sits in a community, and every community abounds with school-enriching resources. Most schools know (and many use) the resources which are institutions, but don't know much about the people resources in the community.
For schools that don't already have one, a community resource file needs to be built. For those already with a base of knowledge, yearly updating is essential.
Perhaps one group of students could be sent into nearby neighborhoods to learn about those fluent in second or third languages.
Perhaps another group could locate all active artists; another all practicing musicians; another the writers; another those whose knowledge of mathematics is part of their everyday work (or hobby) experience.
While back at the school, yet another group of students could be held responsible for the building of the file, for the original indexing, and for the cross-indexing.
And yet another group of students could begin an inventory of all teaching staff to learn what experts and associates they would find particularly useful. For example, more than one teacher might be interested to know that a husband and wife team of photo/naturalists have recently returned from safari in Kenya and are willing to show slides, talk, and answer questions.
These outside resources might enrich a geography lesson, a science lesson, an area study, history, or be a special treat for children in the lower grades.
Certainly the community inventory should show who in the community has lived for any length of time at all in another nation, and would be available to enrich some country study for either elementary grade children or some upper school students on an independent study project.
And more than likely all art teachers will be delighted to know how many artists, artisans, and craftsmen there are who would be available to come talk with serious students learning how to use their medium.
Of course, all students studying a second language eagerly look for those with whom they can practice not only vocabulary and phrasing, but accent.
A word of warning to schools: People who have been asked to be in such an inventory, and who have bothered to entertain the questioners who were building the file, are most displeased if they, then, are not called on.
It probably is necessary to have one or two adults who oversee this activity (they might be volunteers themselves) along with a selection of students from several age and interest groups. And it might be one of the duties of this group to keep finding ways for community resources to be used to enrich current curriculum studies.
Next w eek: Projectionists