School – at least a good school – is not just mortar and bricks and classrooms. A good school is a place that takes young minds of all abilities and nurtures them, recognizing the strengths and building those, while helping minimize or work on weaknesses. Good schools are places we remember as second homes. Places that inspire and help children grow to their full potential, emotionally, physically, socially and academically. They are incubators of sorts, places that will grow new thinkers, new nurturers and new innovators. Good schools embrace parents as partners. Good schools see that they are a part of a community and, similarly, good communities recognize in a forward-thinking way that schools are a vital chain in the life cycle of a community. Schools, like all government funded institutions whether in Canada or The United States, have had to do more with less for many years now. Much of that burden is often offshifted on parents and volunteers and fundraising. In many communities parents and volunteers have rallied for their schools, raising money for new playgrounds, or books for their library, reading gardens, new technology or sports equipment. In our medium-sized 400 student school, parent council has helped to raise a large amount of money for smart boards in every classroom. They accomplished that selling chocolate bars and cookie dough. But not every school can do that and sometimes even when they do sell goods, hold bake sales and carnivals it isn’t enough to get what is needed. I have always felt strongly that there is a great role for corporations and individuals to step up to the plate and help out. That’s why, when I heard of the Bing “Our School Needs” Blog Tour, I was keen to write about it with Mom Central. Bing is running an amazing contest that ends this Sunday, November 7th, 2010. I encourage you to visit the site and find out more at http://www.bing.com/ourschoolneeds. I was moved by several of the remarkable contest entries. Bing, the search engine by Microsoft, is awarding a quarter million dollars in prize money divided among four schools in need. The entry with the most votes wins $100,000 and three others will win $50,000. Your vote can make the difference. There are 15 finalists now. All of the schools are American.
Some of the entries are devastatingly sad.
*Jessie Beck Elementary School in Reno, Nevada, a state with one of the worst rates of graduation and one of the highest rates of childhood obesity, has a diverse population and high needs. The school sits in an older area of town and needs a great deal. They have prioritized smart boards and interactive technology as a high priority need.
Some are sad and funny.
*Bear River Charter School in Utah has no library and the few books they have are falling apart and/ or from the 1950s and 1960s. Utah is a state that spends less money on education per child than any other state. They would also spend the money on a librarian if they won. (Bear River gets points for funny video in my opinion.)
All of the entries are creative and show how promising the students and staff are at each individual school. Some finalists need their arts programs rejuvenated and one school has lost their busses, despite the fact that many of the children at that school as young as five must walk 25 minutes to get to the school.
Voters are asked to vote for their favourite entry daily between now and Sunday. On Tuesday, November 9th a winner will be chosen. The winner is to be chosen by a panel of judges. To vote now or see the entries click here: http://discoverbing.com/education/ourschoolneeds?form=MFEHPG&publ=COMMS&crea=EML_MFEHPG_OSN_EnterToWin_MomCentralPR_1x1
Bing is also giving away upto $900,000 through the on line DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit web site where public school teachers can post classroom projects that need funding. If you are one of the first 30,000 to vote for your favourite finalists every day you receive a $3 donation code to redeem for the classroom project of your choice. Take a moment now to support schools, education and Bing for this really worthy cause. Education is everybody’s job.
|Superstar Josh Groban is seen here visiting a Queens, N.Y. Middle school. He dropped off brand new musical instruments and participated in class chorus as part of the “Our School Needs” contest.|
I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Bing and received a gift card and DonorsChoose.org giving code to thank me for taking the time to participate.