The author of this paper has recently been appointed as the Director of the Barack Obama Community Center. They have been tasked with creating a macro change in the operations of the Center and possibly the community as a whole. Dover’s education landscape is changing due to the increase in school populations, especially those of people from low-income families. However, there are significant disparities in Dover as a whole and the Dover Springs district, specifically. Additionally, there are parent organizations in the area that should also be taken into account due to their influence. The author will attempt to address the various issues and satisfy the parties involved in the education process once they assume their new position. To do so, they will implement an innovative solution using the IMAGINE approach for macro change.
As the name implies, the community center’s purpose is to serve as a gathering place for the local community, where different people can engage in shared experiences and understand each other. According to Morgan (2017), an ideal example of such a building should incorporate an auditorium, some meeting rooms, a nursery, games, a cafeteria, and outside playgrounds and can include other locations of interest. Such a center would be able to incorporate many different activities and serve the needs of both children and adults. Children could engage in learning while playing while their parents could relax or engage in various initiatives. However, this approach would likely benefit from several innovations that reflect the circumstances in the district and address them.
As the district information indicates, a majority of the district’s school population is nonwhite, being either Asian, African American, Hispanic, or multiracial. However, the data on the reading and math proficiencies show that all of these ethnicities but Asians perform significantly worse than whites as well as the average. Moreover, Title I, special education, and LEP students all performed significantly below the norm. For the people from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Center will add a computer room to improve their access to online media, as recommended by Peppler (2017). To address the disparity, the Center will begin incorporating culturally appropriate practices that help children from different backgrounds learn.
Muster Support and Formulate an Action System
To implement the new programs, the Center will require the assistance of educators, especially ones who are used to working with children. It will hire senior educators to design the initiatives, but it is also necessary to have workers who will conduct and oversee the activities in practice. Meidl and Dowell (2018) highlight the benefits of having teacher’s college students practice in community centers for the elimination of racial and income-based disparities. The Delaware Technical Community College provides courses for educators who intend to be working in elementary education. As such, the Center can partner with the institution to achieve mutual benefits by having students who aspire to be teachers interact with children and apply the latest practices.
Parents are another stakeholder group that can be persuaded to support the initiative and contribute to improving its effectiveness. According to Scribner and Fernández (2017), groups such as Hispanics have been marginalized in the education system in the past despite the opportunities that their involvement creates. The Center will follow some of the suggestions presented by parent organizations and try to involve them in initiatives and activities. However, it will also conduct independent research into different population categories to find their specific needs and prevent marginalization. Similar to schools, parent organizations may be taking a majoritarian approach and dismissing the concerns of their minority members. As such, to maximize engagement among all population categories, the Center will have to analyze the situation independently.
The primary asset available to the Center is its physical location, which is equipped with a variety of amenities. Kirst-Ashman and Hull Jr. (2016) highlight built structures as a highly valuable resource because they can be used for a variety of purposes without the need for extensive arrangements or adaptation. The BOCC can use its building to host a variety of events and serve as a gathering place for outdoor initiatives. It can also repurpose one or several of its rooms for use such as a library or a computer room. As such, most of the programs implemented at the Center will try to take advantage of the location and make it a gathering point for the community.
The second valuable asset for the Center is the existence of the parent organizations. Their input can be valuable for the achievement of excellent education standards and the implementation of programs that are effective at improving the academic performance of children. However, as Robinson (2019) confirms, they can also assist in the organization of volunteer efforts and other community service initiatives. The organizations in the district had shown their ability and willingness to do so when they raised funds for the local schools’ computer programs. With that said, the Center’s relationship with parent organizations should not extend too far and make one or both entities reliant on the other. They have used their influence to receive preferential treatment in the past and may try to influence the BOCC in unproductive ways, which should be avoided.
Goals and Objectives
|Goal #1: To improve the availability of online media to low-income children |
|Goal #2: To improve the learning outcomes of minority, low-income, and Special Ed childrenYear 2020 |
The computer initiative will begin with the dedication of a specific area for their usage and the provision of the necessary equipment. At the same time, the Center will investigate the best solution for its needs and proceed to purchase it. Jurkowski (2017) identifies Google’s Chromebooks as a popular education PC choice, though other options are available if necessary. The staff will familiarize themselves with the devices after they receive and install them and prepare to help children use them. The management will cooperate with instructors to create guidelines on computer usage and implement them. After these steps are complete, the computers will be made available to anyone. Educators will adjust their teaching programs to account for the increased availability of online media.
To serve children with different ethnic backgrounds and needs, BOCC staff will have to understand their situations first. Its leadership will conduct meetings with different groups and ask about their situations and concerns while also reviewing relevant literature. Its educator staff will then use this information to develop appropriate interventions and put them into practice. During the creation of the programs, the Center will contact the Delaware Technical Community College and propose the partnership. Dardig (2016) recommends educators keep the parents of the children involved through constant contact, especially in the case of children with special needs. By doing so, the Center will build trust with the community and improve its ability to conduct initiatives in the neighborhood.
The parents are the group most likely to oppose the initiatives of the Center, whether partially or fully. Due to the existence of multiple powerful parent associations in the district, they will also likely be able to make their opinions known and force the BOCC’s management to consider the situation. As Musgrave (2017) notes, the situation that surrounds the parent-teacher relationship is complicated, as both aim to achieve excellent outcomes for children but view the specifics differently due to their varying areas of expertise. Parents can propose ideas that would be impractical or too challenging to implement, and they can also question the validity of the methods proposed by teachers. With that said, their opinions can still be valuable and warrant careful consideration due to the potential benefits that they bring.
The parents’ opposition should be partially neutralized through the framework in which the proposed innovations will be developed. They will aim to address the concerns of the parents directly, thus persuading some members of the community to support the Center. However, as the letter that the author has received shows, there will also be counter-proposals that can conflict with the planned interventions or introduce unnecessary measures. Nnakwe (2017) advises policymakers to review the factual arguments of the opposition and provide a constructive response in an attempt to reach a compromise. In doing so, the Center will be able to maximize the satisfaction in the community, which is critical for trust-building between parents and teachers. The author has included a response to the letter mentioned above, in which they attempt to use this approach, in the appendix.
The primary purpose of this change is to improve the educational outcomes of the children in the Dover Springs district. As such, its success can be evaluated as the degree of improvement that these children demonstrate. Tice et al. (2019) note that the evaluation of macro changes involves collecting data and drawing conclusions from it to attain accurate results and propose further organizational improvements. The Center will use the data gathered by schools across the district and city to determine whether its policies have been successful. In particular, its management will investigate the information regarding student categories that are currently struggling. The results should start appearing several months after the initiatives are implemented. However, as Kirst-Ashman and Hull (2016) note, it is also essential to test the reliability of the results in the long term. The author expects to see the proficiency percentages of African American, Hispanic, multiracial, Title I, special ed, and LEP students increase.
To ensure the success of the BOCC, the author will work to ensure that the facility reflects the needs of its diverse community. They will meet with various stakeholders, discuss their issues, and attempt to reach solutions that satisfy both parties. They will also oversee the hiring process and try to ensure that a diverse selection of staff that can understand the needs of various children at the Center and addresses them. However, they will try to recognize their limitations and let professionals make decisions in their areas of expertise. The author envisions their role as that of an intermediary between the different parties involved in the education of children and the designer of the Center’s strategy. They will try to limit their interference in day-to-day operations and focus on the overall success of the BOCC.
Dardig, J. C. (2016). Involving parents of students with special needs: 25 ready-to-use strategies. Skyhorse Publishing.
Information Resources Management Association. (2018). Online course management: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. IGI Global.
Jurkowski, O. L. (2017). Technology and the school library: A comprehensive guide for media specialists and other educators. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H. (2016). Empowerment series: Generalist practice with organizations and communities (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Meidl, T. D., & Dowell, M. S. (2018). Handbook of research on service-learning initiatives in teacher education programs. IGI Global.
Morgan, A. E. (2017). The small community: Foundation of democratic life. Taylor & Francis.
Musgrave, P. W. (2017). The sociology of education (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Nnakwe, N. E. (2017). Community nutrition: Planning health promotion and disease prevention (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Peppler, K. (Ed.). (2017). The SAGE encyclopedia of out-of-school learning. SAGE Publications.
Robinson, T. Y. (2019). Module 6: Knowing the community and utilizing its resources. In K. L. Lubniewski, D. F. Cosgrove, & T. Y. Robinson (Eds.), Supervision modules to support educators in collaborative teaching: Helping to support & maintain consistent practice in the field (pp. 83-96). Information Age Publishing.
Scribner, S. M. P., & Fernández, E. (2017). Organizational politics of parental engagement: The intersections of school reform, anti-immigration policies, and Latinx parent organizing. Educational Policy, 31(6), 895-920.
Tice, C. J., Cox, L. E., & Long, D. D. (2019). Macro social work practice: Advocacy in action. SAGE Publications.