20/20’S SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT PARADIGM PROVIDES A WORKABLE PLAN WITH ONRAMPS FOR ALL
“Adopting schools is an idea whose time has come. 20/20 Vision is a workable strategy for scalable impact that moves congregations.” – Rev. Gary Frost, President, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York
Mobilizing Community Stakeholders for scalable engagement requires a plan, and 20/20’s School Engagement Paradigm moves them from no relationship to holistic, transformational relationships.
Primarily, 20/20 accomplishes this through a community organizing and training School Engagement Paradigm consisting of three core elements: Vocational Calling, School Adoption, and Student Leadership Development (depicted on the 20/20 Matrix). Within that Paradigm, 20/20 equips grassroots volunteers and organizations to implement Best Practices that respond to felt needs of local schools, like mentoring, academic enrichment, student leadership, and arts education.
Vocational Calling. Vocational calling challenges anyone with a meaningful relationship with a young person to view that relationship as an opportunity to invest in a life, and in a school. By this definition, students, parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, coaches, custodians, employers, mentors, neighbors, retail managers all have a role to play in transforming education. They are already positioned to affect meaningful change, if only their leaders would equip and activate them for that purpose. 20/20 partnerships with Community Stakeholders facilitate volunteer recruitment and training.
School Adoption. 20/20 also urges Stakeholder Organizations to adopt at least one public school within walking distance for meaningful advocacy and service. Adoption begins by educating one’s institution on the unique realities of the school; developing trusting relationships at the school; adding real value to the school through acts of service like beautification and event sponsorships; establishing an ongoing presence at the school by providing mentors, coaches, tutors, enrichment programs, etc.; and affecting policies that promote and sustain educational equity.
Student Leadership. Finally, empowering student leaders means equipping them to become change agents within their own schools. When 5-10% of a given community believes and acts a certain way, the rest of the community is likely to follow. 20/20 partners establish a culture of leadership within schools by developing a pipeline of student leaders consisting of up to 10% of the student body at any given school.
THE NET EFFECT: TRAINED LEADERS LEADING SUSTAINABLE, COMMUNITY-BASED CHANGE
Operationalizing the School Engagement Paradigm within a Stakeholder Organization requires catalytic leadership. 20/20 coaching, training, and coordination produce leaders who equip others to volunteer in meaningful ways.
More specifically, 20/20 empowers Community Stakeholders to fulfill three core functions: Champion, School Liaison, and Student Organizer. It is possible for one individual, such as a business executive, youth worker, pastor, retired teacher, parent, or other to embody all three leadership roles, but responsibilities may be shared among a team within a Stakeholder Organization as well.
Champions envision and equip their constituencies to care about the issue and act within their individual capacities towards education reform. For example, within a church context, this may be the senior pastor or some other member of the congregation’s senior leadership. Ideally, a church champion would leverage pulpit access or other ministry influence to prepare people for “works of service” within schools (Ephesians 4:12).
School Liaisons nurture the relationship with the adopted school. In some cases a pre-existing relationship may exist via an employee, member, or relative with access to the school. More often, the School Liaison will initiate outreach, and find creative ways for the organization to meet felt needs.
Student Organizers develop the leadership capacity of students themselves through mentoring or small group instruction, with the goal of cultivating a pipeline of students ready and able to catalyze change within schools.
20/20 Leadership is cultivated through an organizing and training strategy that equips leaders to engage education reform, and transform schools directly.