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Sharing Our Best Ideas
On November 3, 2010, the East Cobb County Council (ECCC) PTA Diversity and Inclusion Committee held its first-ever “Cultural Summit.” Ten representatives from across the cultures and faiths of East Cobb served as panelists in an honest, open, and respectful question and answer program for PTA Diversity and Inclusion chairpersons, school administrators and community members. Participants were invited to ask questions of panelists regarding topics such as their culture, traditions, faith, holidays, and, in particular, their perspectives on education and parents’ roles in education. This forum was strictly for the purposes of educating those in attendance about the participating cultures and faiths so that they could facilitate the understanding of those cultures/faiths at school and further everyone’s inclusion in school programs. The goal of the summit was to educate our PTA representatives and school administrators about the cultures and faiths of the families that make up their school communities, thereby making them better liaisons between their communities and the school. The summit was very well-received by all in attendance. Plans are in progress to hold another one in the spring at night, so teachers can attend.
On November 18, 2010, SCCPSS and Volunteer Savannah, an initiative of the City of Savannah, held Principals& Partners on the Southside at the Southwest branch of Live Oak Public Libraries. Savannah-Chatham-Council of PTA, United Way’s Hands On Savannah, and Youth Futures Authority of Savannah were supporting partners. The event was the last of three collaborative events bringing principals together with their surrounding neighbors and neighborhood associations to develop volunteer partnerships for the purpose of improving schools and neighborhoods.
Star Corporal Tracy Walden of the Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Department and Chief Ulysses Bryant, SCCPSS Campus Police conducted presentations on safety. Table discussions followed addressing safety and volunteer opportunities in the schools and the neighborhoods. Principals informed community members of the school system’s District Accountability System, a strategic plan to assure essential objectives are achieved, including parental and community engagement. Over 100 individuals attended the events including Jefferson Student Leaders (youth volunteers) from Johnson High School and Savannah Arts Academy. Many of the attendees pledged to volunteer at neighboring schools. The Jefferson Student Leaders have committed to work with younger children at nearby elementary schools and they challenge their peers to join them in this effort. Contributing sponsors for the event were Harris Baking Company, Kroger, Morris Dental Associates, Publix, Salsaritas, Savannah Marriot Riverfront, Starbucks, and The Fresh Market. The school system invites businesses and non-profits, as well as community members to volunteer and engage with our schools.