Re: Good relationship W/School (long)
Berk Moss (mossfam@TELEPORT.COM)
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 20:14:34 -0700
On the topic of good relationship with schools, I do have much experience.
I am the Science Specialist for a School District of about 30,000 students.
I work with 29 elementary schools and their principals.
Here are some thoughts:
What do you mean by "Good relationship W/School"?
- Would you like to pass out flyers at your local elementary? Then go to
the secretary early and ask the local procedure. FOLLOW IT. There may be
approvals you need. They give the approval, but you should plan on doing
all the work. Offer to bundle the flyers in packages with the correct
number for each classroom and further offer to put them in the teachers
boxes a day or two before you want them in the hands of the students. Add
to this a plate of donuts or something for the staffroom with your flyers
next to them.That will help the staff remember. If classroom distribution
won't work ask to be able to hand flyers to parents at a school event or
the beginning or end of the school day when at least some parents are at
- Would you like to use the school building for an event or regular
meetings? Ask MONTHS in advance. You'll need to fit on the school calendar.
You may need the approval of the principal, a local school committee, or
the central office. Learn the process and allow enough time. Expect to pay
for any custodial services you require. And, expect that if you use the
building you will be required to have a custodian present to deal with the
building boiler etc. The days of the District having enought tax money to
pay overtime for such events are mostly gone. Even if you pay overtime, be
extra nice to the custodian.
- Would you like to hold a dinner or use the kitchen? All the advance
planning mentioned above applies. There may be other considerations, there
may need to be a person in your group with a food handlers license. The
kitchen may not be set up to leave you space to prepare food because the
next day's food may be partially set up. The refigerator and all food will
be locked because most of it is federally subsidized and the cafeteria
manager will be highly accountable if it is used for other than a school
lunch program. And the cafeteria manager may have had just one experience
where she arrived at 5 AM the morning after an outside group used the
kitchen and had a disaster left for her and her staff to clean up. She may
not be receptive to ANYONE in her kitchen after that. Even if her son is an
So that is the secretary, the custodian, the cooks. As a teacher I learned
long ago how hard these people work and how important good relationships
are. (And how they can make life miserable for anyone that crosses them.)
Higher ups? Ask you Scout District Chairman to cultivate the Superintendent
of Schools and School Board. Don't call central office of anything but very
small school districts about difficulties arranging Pack meetings at your
local school. Central staff will refer you back to the principal; he or she
will get a note saying the Superintendet was contacted and is interested;
and you will be trying to ask support from someone you've embrassed.
Find out how your group can be a support to the school. Flag ceremonies?
School yard clean ups? (If a Pack's parents volunteer as a group to clean
up after a carival or other event, you'll get all the cooperation you
Oh. And if you have to ask for something, have a member of the Pack who has
helped out around the school lots ask or at least go with the person who
Legal pressure? Don't do it. We are a religious organization. (Look at your
volunteer application.) I'm proud to be a Scouter. I'm proud to pledge to
do my Duty to God, but we're out on a limb seeking governmental (school)
support. How would you react if your child came home with a flyer about
bible camp or koran study group at the school other such activity for a
group you don't support? I like school support where we can get it, but
know we can't demand it.
In all relations, remember if you switch from persuasion to pressure you
will have a very difficult time ever going back.
Those are my thoughts. Your expereince my differ.
Berk Moss Pioneer District Advancement Committee
Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 427 Cascade-Pacific Council
Multnomah Village, Portland Oregon O/A Brotherhood
e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Bear Patrol Woodbadge WEM 492-1-94
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