School-Community Partnerships Spotlighted on Dallas Visit by AFT’s Randi Weingarten

During visits to two Dallas schools by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten yesterday, the theme was school-community teamwork–the need to take shared responsibility for strengthening public schools and ensuring all children get a high-quality education. School, community, and business and labor leaders–including AFT President Randi Weingarten, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa, and Alliance-AFT President Rena Honea–visited David W. Carter High School for a parent forum and Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School, where business and community groups made donations for the school’s supply closet.

“All children–not just those who happen to live in the right ZIP code–deserve a world-class education and the supports they need to succeed in life,” said Weingarten. “It’ll take all of us–school, community and elected leaders; teachers; and parents–to create the conditions that promote learning for all kids…Teachers are more than willing to shoulder a heavy load to help our children succeed, but we cannot do it alone. As adults, we all have an obligation to strengthen our neighborhood schools and make sure all children get the education they deserve,” Weingarten said.

At a school tour and parent forum in the morning at Carter High, school leaders highlighted parent and community involvement in programs aimed at helping students succeed. For instance, the “Stand Up, Man Up” program pairs young men at the school with business leaders who can teach them about responsibility and good work ethics.

“To be truly successful, schools need support from the communities that surround them,” said superintendent Hinojosa. “Teachers, parents and students can only do so much. When communities step up, even in the smallest of ways, it signals that the critical work taking place on that campus is recognized by many who stand to benefit from an educated workforce in the future.”

During an afternoon visit to Hawthorne Elementary, more than a dozen business and community groups presented donations to the school to replenish its supply closet with supplies for students and teachers, and school uniforms.

Alliance-AFT President Honea said the school visits were just the beginning of an effort to build stronger community partnerships across Dallas. “With budget shortfalls everywhere, we have to work together to take care of our most important resources, our children. Nowadays, it takes a community to raise a child, and we are putting that into action.”

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