In cooperation with the California State PTA, for the past few years Ed100.org has given out prizes of up to $1,000 to support PTAs all over California. These prizes are helpful in their own right, obviously. Hey, what PTA couldn't use an extra $1,000? We've just completed our most recent drawing, and the winners are revealed at the end of this message.
Anyone can take the Ed100 course, free. It is particularly useful to people who are stepping up to leadership roles in their school or district.
But first, a little background. Ed100 is a free, self-paced online course that demystifies the California school system, one topic at a time. The lessons are short -- about five minutes each, in English and Spanish. Anyone can take the Ed100 course, and it is particularly useful to people who are stepping up to leadership roles in their school or district. Many of those who take the course are current or future leaders of PTAs or other parent organizations. The course also helps to prepare members of school site councils, new school board members, teacher leaders, foundation officers, charter school board members, education bloggers, journalists and legislative staff.
Sometimes people ask us why we give these prizes out. Isn't it rewarding enough to build a better-informed school community that can make smart decisions in support of kids? Well, yes, of course, but there's a problem.
All of these people care about education. They're involved. They want to help make schools work better. They believe it helps to be well-informed. So what's the problem? It's simple: we are all busy, and we hope maybe we already know enough to get by. In a life full of deadlines and distractions, it often feels like learning about the education system is something that can wait. I can learn about this tomorrow, we think. Or next week, maybe. When I'm not so busy.
Our challenge, then, is to convert good intentions ("I'm interested in learning this... mañana") to actual learning ("I'll invest five minutes now and take the next lesson".) Ed100 offers four tools to help you encourage learning NOW in your school community:
Deadlines. Each lesson you complete on Ed100 earns a ticket for the next drawing. The drawings happen on particular dates. You can use the drawings to create urgency by reminding people in your school community about Ed100 ahead of those dates. We routinely include the date of the next drawing in our emails and posts on social media.
Transparency. The Ed100 leaderboard shows how many lessons each participant in your school has completed. You can use the leaderboard to set goals and celebrate progress. Participation in Ed100 gives you quantifiable evidence of engagement, including people who can't or don't show up at meetings.
Competition. Some folks enjoy a little friendly competition, and Ed100 is set up to help you tap into that motivation. The Ed100 Leaderboard ranks schools by the number of tickets earned, including bonus tickets. With a little effort, you can give your school principal another reason to brag about your school.
Community. By far the most powerful way to use Ed100 is to form a "book club" around it, scheduling discussion meetings to talk about each of the ten chapters. In the end, bringing people together is how change happens, anyway. If you are interested in this approach, drop me an email at email@example.com. I will send you a set of draft discussion guides you can work from.
Ed100 is now being used by 2,419 people in 1,132 schools in California -- about a tenth of all the schools in the state! Congratulations to the three lucky schools that won for their PTA in the drawing on May 11:
Thus far, all of the California State PTA drawings on Ed100 have been generously sponsored by Full Circle Fund. We are looking for a sponsor for drawings in the 2016-17 school year. If you have ideas about that, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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