Community engagement is essential to the Coalition’s mission and core business and is the bulk of what we do. It’s impossible to effectively mobilize resources (volunteer, financial, or in-kind services) without informing and connecting all citizens to create awareness and increase the level of support for our public schools.
Our engagement efforts involve serving on various education committees; presenting to civic groups, individuals and organizations, hosting community learning forums, media appearances and facilitating community conversations.
The Coalition facilitated the work of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee in early 2018. Approximately 60 committee members, comprised of internal school system leaders and external community leaders, participated in six meetings over two months to update Baldwin County Public Schools’ mission, vision and priorities for action.
Mobilizing our community to take action for school reform requires an informed, engaged citizenry. The Baldwin County Education Coalition hosts periodic learning forums on pressing issues facing public schools.
Following a failed property tax referendum in March 2015, the Education Coalition facilitated the work of a Community Advisory Task Force (CATF) established by the Baldwin County Board of Education (BCBE). The diverse group of concerned citizens thoroughly examined and provided counsel for actionable steps regarding the future of public education in Baldwin County in each of the five areas: Communication, Curriculum, Facilities, Funding and Leadership. Task Force members collectively invested more than 1,200 volunteer hours into the initiative and submitted a Final Report requesting BCBE to officially adopt the recommendations therein.
A vision is a target that beckons. Our Coalition believes a vision compelling enough to change the way we do business in education is only possible by engaging enough citizens to make that vision crystal clear.
Developed by the Mobile Area Education Foundation in 2001, Yes We Can has been used successfully by several Alabama communities to seek public input and provide accountability for school reform. We use the Yes We Can public engagement model to capture the authentic voice of Baldwin citizens and to clarify their aspirations for our community and schools.
Over the summer of 2010, the Coalition organized and conducted 85 Yes We Can Community Conversations in homes, churches and community centers throughout the county. More than 1,300 people took part in Phase I of the initiative that produced the Community Agreement and a subsequent Co-owned Strategic Plan.
We will continue applying the Yes We Can public engagement model to remain true to our community’s vision for 21st-century schools.