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Building a Vibrant Community – Chapter 11

The foundation for EVERYTHING that will happen in a community in the future is education. A strong Education System = A Vibrant Community.

Doing a good job teaching our children will provide our community with a well-educated workforce in the future. And, studies show, a well-educated workforce is more likely:

∫ To be productive

∫ To perform higher

∫ To be law-abiding, and

∫ To be healthier.

In addition, a well-educated workforce

∫ Attracts investment

∫ Attracts talent

∫ Creates upward social mobility

∫ Allows graduates to choose to remain/settle down in their community, and

∫ Ultimately creates a cycle of generations of well-educated citizens that maintain a vibrant community.

So how do we start that cycle of well-educated citizenry? Quint Studer offers these suggestions…

First, analyze your local Education System. What is your kindergarten readiness score? Your graduation rate? Your school system’s rank in the state? In the country? You must know your data and keep it up front.

Next, you must determine how to improve and keep your Education System strong.

Finally, you must remember that it truly “takes a village to educate a child.” You’ve heard this hundreds of times… because it’s true. The entire community must support local education – community leaders, business owners, those with student-age children, and those without student-age children – the entire community. Why? Because when students aren’t doing well – everyone loses.

There are four things to keep in mind regarding a great Education System. (1) Elect a great school board whose members are willing to work together as a team. (2) Hire a great school superintendent; then hold the superintendent accountable with concrete, measurable goals. (3) Encourage volunteerism in every way possible. And, maybe most importantly, (4) Understand the root causes for your system’s data; then make the following ideas priorities in your community.

1) Increase Kindergarten Readiness

The better their early brain development, the better prepared youngsters are to learn to complete their education, and to become productive and thriving citizens. In other words, we can’t wait until our children are IN school, we must provide activities and stimulation from the time they are born.

2) Develop Young Leaders

Leadership isn’t just a business skill – it’s a life skill. Teaching leadership helps young people build habits that will serve them, and their community, for a lifetime.

3) Prepare Students with the skillset of the Future

Technology is a wonderful thing, but automation eventually takes over many jobs. To counter that, the vital job skills of the future will be those no machine can perform – creativity, innovation, problem solving, and emotional intelligence (humility, presence of mind, courage, and connection).

4) Establish or grow a collegiate presence in your community

Colleges boost economic growth for a community, give local businesses access to talent, provide opportunity for internships, and allow for scholarships that keep young talent in the community.

Communities must make education a priority. When we enrich the minds of our greatest resource – our citizens – we create a brighter, richer, more vibrant future for everyone.

This outline is from “Building a Vibrant Community” by Quint Studer. Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of the book available to those who are interested.

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