The following ideas are provided to help districts, schools, and partner organizations develop programming that uniquely reflects each community. Although an activity can stand alone, schools can also integrate several in a week-long celebration. And remember, the best way to get parents to a school-related activity is to have children as the focus of the event!
School Activity Ideas
Hold a press conference featuring student success in its many forms from improved MCAS scores to winning a national choral competition to highlight how your district is supporting the wide variety of student talent in your schools.
Connect with a graduates from your school district that has found great success in their careers. The graduates may be able to come speak at the school, write a letter, or make a video discussing how their public school experience helped them to become successful.
Release data on student achievement that highlights how your students have been steadily improving academically since the implementation of a local strategy to enhance learning outcomes.
Submit an op-ed by a district leader, educator, or community stakeholder that shares with the entire community your goals and accomplishments as a district or school.
Hold a signing day for students pursuing education-related career tracks, similar to the signing days held for athletes committing to college sports teams. The goal is to bring more spirit and support to future educators and education as a career.
Community Event Ideas
Screenings. Screen some of the recent Leading the Nation media coverage that focuses on the future of Massachusetts' educational system. Schools could precede or follow the screening with speakers or a panel discussion to highlight local stories, strategies, and outcomes.
Festivals. Plan a town festival that promotes education, or incorporate the Leading the Nation theme into an existing event. Have games and activities related to school subjects such as math, science, English, and history. For example, the high schools students could perform science experiments that might spark an interest for science in an elementary school student. Create a "Leading the Nation" banner and have students put a paint handprint on it.
Panel discussions. Organize a panel discussion to expand local awareness of education-related issues by inviting educators, scholars, advocates, and policymakers to discuss topics that affect local education and student achievement. Suggested topics include:
- What is the connection between educational attainment, a career, and success in life?
- How do communities define success for their young people?
- What will help your school or district improve, and how can the community be involved?
Workshops. Similar topics could be addressed in educator-led workshops for students, families, or teachers. These would offer creative, hands-on opportunities for audiences to learn about the K-12 system and make personal connections to the importance of education and its impact on the community.
School Receptions. Offer community members opportunities to meet the students and school staff at a reception. The reception could include a photo exhibit (or other type of display) featuring a day in the life of a student and teacher, or an activity the school has undertaken to improve the community. Schools could honor a student, teacher, parent, or local leader at the reception.
Exhibits. Partners, including libraries, museums, and businesses, can work with schools to increase local awareness and appreciation of the successes of the K-12 public education system with an exhibition featuring the literature, science, math, art, music, and other work of local students a portfolio show akin to a cross-disciplinary version of a science fair.
Contests. A Leading the Nation story writing, poetry, or art contest for students and community members about their schools and teachers can encourage dialogue about student success. Showcase entries at an exhibit or event and invite community leaders to judge entries and award prizes. The writing contest could be part of a reception or exhibit, with prizes donated by local businesses.
In some cases, districts might have limited capacity to create a new event. The Leading the Nation campaign includes a few pre-organized events or activities that districts can more easily participate in to give everyone the opportunity to celebrate.
Get your district ready for the Leading the Nation selfie by pulling together educators and students to showcase what being number one looks like in your school districts. Include with your selfie some reflections on how you achieved your success as a way to share best practices.
Send an educator and student representation to a Leading the Nation regional event to showcase how your district and schools is Leading the Nation.
Apply to be one of the Leading the Nation media tour stops that will extend from Western Massachusetts to Boston.
Social Media Outreach
Help bring the conversation to social media! Check out our Twitter (@maschoolsk12) and YouTube (@massachusettsese) sites. Share your favorite Massachusetts education experience and tag #LeadingTheNation.