Mom Congress: Lesson Plan for Change
Find out how you can be a part of the education reform movement and improve local schools
STEP 3: Take your plan to the school board
The school board is the group that holds the purse strings -- and the power to green-light new projects. You'll need to prepare a strong presentation to snag their votes. What you'll need to do:
- Recruit audience support. Get the word out to other parents in your community that it's show time -- you want as many people as possible standing behind you at the presentation (figuratively speaking). Think of ways parents who may not be available for that event can help out: Maybe they can give out something symbolic along with a flyer about your cause during drop-off or pick-up the next day to continue the momentum.
- Write your script. This was a universal piece of advice among the Mom Congress delegates. It will help you stay on point -- and stay concise. These tips can help you structure your speech:
- Start with a general overview (base it on your elevator pitch).
- Back it up with your supporting data on how the project will save money and/or improve learning long-term.
- Offer a real-life anecdote or two to make the issue personal.
- Wrap it up with a memorable sound bite -- namely, your slogan!
(For more great advice, check out the tool kits on KeepArtsinSchools.org, which can be applied to any cause.)
- Be prepared to debate and defend your position. (See the importance of research!) Anticipate the questions and know how you'll answer them. Depending on how much opposition you expect, you may even want to hold a mock meeting with your strategy team to practice making your points.
- Maintain a friendly and courteous tone. Seems obvious, but you actually will catch more flies with honey.
- Say a "thank you" twice! Of course you'll thank the board for their time at the end, but it's also smart to follow up with a letter. Not only does it push the sugar factor, but it also keeps your issue top of mind.
- Leave materials behind. Give each board member a copy of your talking points and any relevant backup to have on hand during deliberations.
- Rally your troops. If you can, plan to gather at least your strategy team for a postmortem and to keep motivation running high. Because no matter what happens this round, you know you'll keep fighting for what your kids need -- and deserve!
Join the fight for better schools today! Click here to become a member of Parenting's Mom Congress coalition!
For more reading, check out Waiting for "Superman": How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools.