Working on schools: Starting with these three

I am delighted to announce a new initiative to improve three Plantation schools and the engine that will make it work is … you!

I’m asking everyone – regardless of what skills they possess – to go to and enroll as a public-school volunteer. The onus will then be on the school to best determine how to deploy us.

Since I was elected Nov. 6, 2018, I have been working to find a way to improve Plantation schools. As I knocked on doors during my campaign, I heard far too many people say they were looking to move as their children grew up. (Real estate professionals can confirm this.)

After meeting with all the principals involved, as well as school board member Rosalind Osgood, I got the green light. (I also visited personally with two other board members, community leaders and many others about this.) I then spelled out my plan to the Plantation Education Advisory Board.

To me, the starting point is Plantation Middle School, and the numbers bear me out. Data shows that the school has the county’s lowest percentage of in-zone children who actually attend that school (about 55 percent). So as a leader in our city, I want to address a challenge that our residents are facing – even though municipal governments are not responsible for schools per se.

I cannot control what our school board does. I can’t (nor do I want to) tell principals how to run their school. All I can do is to encourage anyone who cares to get involved and help work our way toward the top. And this is how we’ll start.

My request is if you don’t have a child attending a particular school, please select Plantation Middle School, or feeder schools Peters Elementary and Mirror Lake Elementary, as your preferred assignment. And if don’t like that, pick another one. You might work just once the whole year, and that’s fine. But believe me, they will accept the help.

What kind of help? Don’t be afraid of that part, either. List your skills and understand that even being a “warm body” can bring progress. And you’ll develop a vested interest in “your” school.

Does this mean I’m telling you where to send your child? Absolutely not. Parents are going to do what’s best for their individual child, and should assess their options case-by-case. Now, would I love for our city’s public schools to be in the mix of those you visit? Yes, of course. Such an endeavor helps build communities, neighborhoods and, well, property values.

I am making this request now, with the understanding that your application takes time to review. You’ll need your driver’s license (because they’ll run a background check), about 10 minutes to navigate through the form, and a little bit of patience, because the questions are detailed.

Through all my conversations, I’ve learned that there is no magic solution – and the only momentum we can muster for those schools is whatever we generate ourselves.

 It’s on us.

Go to and register for the 2019-20 school year.

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