Opportunities abound to help shape young minds
All of the traditions of back-to-school are in full swing across the city and in German Village this week. Pencils are sharp. Backpacks are new.
Teachers and kids can't wait to get back in the classroom.
We said goodbye last week to our St. Mary Summer Camp students, who graced us with their smiles and giggles all summer as the school used the Meeting Haus for its programming while the St. Mary building underwent some remodeling inside.
Now, residents of German Village and the whole South Side have a chance to get back in the classroom and back to school in a very real way this year. I hope you'll join me in committing to play a part.
Stewart Alternative Elementary School Principal Ebone Johnson and William Ragland, who operates a program called Diplomas Now at South High, attended the last meeting of German Village Business Community.
They made a direct request that everyone who believes in high-quality education on the South Side make a meaningful investment to make it a reality in Columbus.
Principal Johnson said it is on her goal list for 2013-14 to make the school much more integrated with our community. That's a two-way street. She's looking for support from us, and looking for ways to support us.
For years, German Village Society has organized tutors to spend an hour a week with Stewart students.
We can always use more help there -- and just talk to a tutor to find out how rewarding that experience is week after week.
But if you just have one morning to donate, consider Ms. Johnson's reading day, coming up Oct. 3.
I don't think anyone could turn up their nose at reading a book about a cow to kindergarteners (live cows may play a role on this very special day!).
You can also donate to Read for the Record Day so that each student can take home the day's special book: "Otis" by Loren Long.
Or visit during September's career fair, when students get a chance to ask you about your job and how they get from their lives in elementary school to your life as a professional.
If your current schedule won't allow a donation of time, why not drop off school supplies, children's books or a check for school supplies?
You can drop it at the school (temporarily housed at Beck Street) or in the German Village Society offices and we'll make sure it gets to Principal Johnson.
Or email her at email@example.com.
Ms. Johnson's community integration goal also has her looking for opportunities for students to volunteer.
Did you know that one part of the Stewart School mission is "pride in community?" This year, the students will be taking that pride to give back.
Ms. Johnson has been a key partner for Southside STAY -- that's the group of young families who have just successfully negotiated with Columbus Public Schools to make Stewart School partially open to neighborhood kids (it is otherwise a 100-percent lottery school).
So, as Stewart School transitions back to its home on Schiller Park -- and as she works with STAY parents to welcome them to the school -- every resident reading this can support that effort by attending Southside STAY events and supporting its cause.
Your next opportunity is during a STAY open house Sept. 21.
If you want to help mentor students who are a bit older, you can take part in the Diplomas Now program at South High.
Mentors spend a morning a quarter going over report cards with individual students, helping to praise and encourage them.
In its first year, the program at South High was recognized as School of the Year for the national program because its hands-on approach is raising success for students.
Email Mr. Ragland if you want to help: wragland@jhu. edu.
And the Society is working with St. Mary leaders to outline ways to support that school, too.
Standby for specific details on all of these partnerships to come in Neighbors4Neighbors. These will be your opportunities to truly make a difference, so I hope you'll find a way to take part.
German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.