By Tracy Zanitsch, December guest blogger
Talking about what I have learned about creating a college and career readiness program while still in the midst of listening, re-tooling and re-grouping has ended up to be a bit more of a challenge than I expected. But as educators…I mean actors say, “the show must go on.”
Developing relationships, both personal and work related, with team members in other offices is becoming a key part of my work. Nothing that is worth doing can really be accomplished by just me. But what I can accomplish with someone else or a lot of someone elses is amazing! Help and the sharing of knowledge continue to come from the most unexpected places and people.
Last night I sent out a request to all the folks who office here at the Plato Blvd. building, asking if anyone had a copy of the game of LIFE I could borrow. I also included a brief explanation of why I needed it.
- Five different people offered to loan me the game, and I only knew one of them.
- As if that wasn’t enough to make me smile…an offer of assistance with the project was also sent. This individual is not only an expert in the field, but also has personal relationships with outside organizations that they are willing to use to assist in the development of the project.
A project currently being worked on is “The Journey to College and Career Readiness Begins in Elementary School” (affectionately known as “the coloring book”). This document is a prime example of how developing relationships can increase the value of a project.
None of us dreamed that finding a few pictures (suitable for coloring) of people in different occupations, genders and ethnic backgrounds would be a tough task. We could not have been more wrong. After much Internet surfing and hours of calling co-workers, a coloring book figure was found that had a young lady in a hijab painting a picture. The drawing was copyrighted by Amir Al-Zubi. It was not exactly what we wanted, but rather the best we could find.
Amir Al-Zubi was contacted for permission to use the drawing and we explained how and why we wanted to use it. As email requests like this had been sent out before, expectations were not high. We were contacted within 24 hours and exchanged several emails to clarify exactly why we wanted to use this drawing, and how important it was to the success of the project. In the end we were offered the use of the original drawing, as well as one that was much more appropriate for our use.
So I leave you with this…
Tell people about your work. Ask for assistance. You’d be surprised how many people want this effort to succeed. And try not to be as amazed as I am about just how generous people can be.
If your organization has a college and career readiness program, please post a comment. I’d love to hear about your experience.