Students are soaking up the last few days of summer before school house doors open on Aug. 24. But school administrators have been busier than normal getting ready for a new school year, particularly at eastern Wake County’s two high schools.
Knightdale principal Jim Argent is in the second year of phasing in his vision for higher expectations and improved student performance at Knightdale High School, while Stacey Alston is prepping for his first year at a newly-recombined East Wake High School.
One common approach both men are taking is an effort to bring the community into the schools in an increased way. Argent is focusing on building relationships with businesses and industry which can supplement the lessons teachers provide. Alston wants to establish a PTA, something is predecessors also wanted to accomplish but never met with much success.
Regardless of the form that community-involvement piece takes, it’s important that the public take the opportunities being offered them. Whether you’re a business owner or manager who may want to play a role in developing future talent, or a parent who wants to make sure your child has all the opportunities and resources available to other students in other schools, this is an open invitation to help make those visions a reality.
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We hear often from parents upset over the lack of opportunity at their child’s school. We hear nearly as much from businesses who complain that the graduates from local high schools don’t even come equipped with many of the soft skills necessary to be productive in the work place.
These aren’t concerns principals are in the dark about. They know full well what the shortcomings of their schools are. This effort to invite the community to be involved in the schools is part of their solution to those problems.
So now is the time to show just how smart we are as business leaders and parents. Put action to your words. Find ways to be involved in your local school. Whether you join the PTA or volunteer yourself and your employees to work with students on project-based educational efforts, it’s all valuable. What is not valuable are the chorus of chronic complainers who don’t take advantage of opportunities like these and choose, instead, to sit upon their perch and whistle negativity about our local schools.
Argent and Alston are both pleasant men with demanding jobs. They are also smart enough to know that they can’t turn their schools around by themselves. And they know there are enough resources here in the eastern Wake community to make our schools better. The question is, are we smart enough to follow their leads?