Tag Archives: mississippi association of partners in education

The “Boys of Spring” are back.

So who are the Boys of Spring, you ask? No, they are not baseball players. “Boys of Spring” is a nickname coined in the 1980s for a group of young staffers who, along with Gov. William Winter, Jack Reed Sr. and Rep. Robert Clark, took a stand for improved public education in Mississippi. They will be honored on the evening of April 26, 2011 at the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education annual Winter-Reed Award dinner.

The “Boys of Spring” to be honored on April 26 are Andy Mullins, Dick Molpus, John Henegan and David Crews. Though they were members of the original group, former Gov. Ray Mabus‘ current role as Secretary of the Navy prevents his participation in the award program, and Bill Gartin cannot participate due to a conflict.

When Mississippi was the only state in the nation that did not offer public kindergarten, this is the team that engineered the now historical Education Reform Act of 1982, also known as “The Christmas Miracle of 1982.” It is still considered the most significant educational legislation enacted in Mississippi since the establishment of the public school system. Today, these individuals continue in various ways to promote and enhance Mississippi.

Proceeds from the event will be used to enhance the program services of MAPE, including scholarships for member school districts to send representatives to training events.

Are you a School-Community Connector?

One of the more important contributions a person can make to his or her community is to get involved with the local public school.  Public policymakers are finally realizing that there is a strong relationship between economic development and the overall success of communities.  Nevertheless, it should be obvious by now that it takes more than just funding and government programs to create really good schools.  There are critical roles for parents, educators, business, and the community at large.  It also takes persons who are known as school-community connectors.

A school-community connector is “a person whose job it is to find and build relationships with a wide range of neighborhood ―assets‘ -residents, voluntary associations, local institutions, businesses- and then to connect them to the neighborhood school and its assets -teachers, students, space, equipment, just to name a few.” according to a recently released report from the Asset Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University (see link below).

The report cites the experience of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, which undertook a project it labeled Ivolving All Neighbors.  The project resulted in a good job description, so to speak.  The project found that School-Community Connectors tend to have the following attributes or characteristics:

Strongly believes that every person belongs and has contributions to make and gifts to give to the community;

Works to build community in his or her life;

Is always on the lookout for what‘s happening in the neighborhood and knows its places, events, groups and people;

Looks for opportunities for people to connect with others and contribute their skills;

Enjoys meeting people and bringing together people with common interests;

Gets involved and asks others to get involved;

Enjoys challenges and doesn‘t give up;

Stays flexible, adjusts expectations, and knows that things take time;

Focuses on one person at a time and considers how that person‘s interests and skills can be assets for the community;

Finds ways for others in the community to sustain new connections;

Finds ways to take care of and renew him- or herself;

Believes that anything is possible.

If you would like to learn more about school-community partnerships in Mississippi contact the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

Building Mutually-Beneficial Relationship Between Schools and Communities – The Role of A Connector, published by the Asset Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University