Missing

Why can’t K – 12 organizations be as good as post-secondary institutions at connections with student and staff alumni? While not equal in terms of a source of revenue with post-secondary alumni, they nonetheless provide a strong base of experience and support. As charter schools increase their footprint, I expect they will no doubt use their connections to student alumni to their advantage, similar to what the private schools do already. But even the private K -12 institutions tend to ignore staff alumni.

My post-secondary alma mater basks regularly in the borrowed light of former students Hugh Hardy and Michael Graves. Bill Belichick used to come annually to Annapolis High School to visit with the Deputy Superintendent (his former coach) and the student athletes on the football team. Although it probably doesn’t raise test scores by a single point, opportunities to connect caring and successful adults with students open windows into worlds that are both exciting and aspirational. This opportunity exists for each and every educational institution. There are success stories out there that need to be told and successful student and staff alumni to be used as resources. If our stated goal in education is to give each and every student the tools to be successful, then inspiration provided by successful former students and staff cannot be ignored.

My former employer has at least seven current K – 12 school superintendents among their staff alumni and countless senior staff in other districts. Aren’t they a resource worth consulting on a regular and somewhat formal basis? Although some are consulted on an ad hoc basis from time to time, at the moment they appear to be an under-utilized and therefore missed opportunity.

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  1. There are a few public school districts that single out “notable alumni” on their websites, but not many. I suspect most people who have achieved greatness (are even semi-greatness) would be honored to be recognized by their hometown school system and would be willing to lend their support if asked. Most public schools do not track the success of those that have moved through their system unless they happen to be an incubator for greatness. Check out Wikipedia’s long list of well-known people that graduated from Hollywood High School since it opened in 1906.

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