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Helping local schools

oconnork00 asked
What I need help with are ideas, suggestions and policies you have seen working in a school.

For example, the supply of a weekly newsletter from the school to be brought home to the parents. That's a cool idea. It keeps parents in the loop about the news related to the school.

Running a summer or Christmas fair to increase revenue into the school is another idea; this is for revenue streams.

So, revenue streams are ones I am interested to know about but also ideas LIKE the newsletter is another.

Here's another example. Rather than the children having to buy a school tracksuit for sports which would generally conisist of a black sports pants, a school could adopt a policy of supplying the school crest for sale where the parents could simply purchase an affordable sports pants from a cost effective store like WalMart and then purchase the crest in the school for a small fee and then sow it onto the pants. This way the school will make a small revenue stream and the parents save on uniform costs.

Hiring school books - parents often have to buy books for the curriculum. However some schools will rent books to parents for their children. This is another revenue stream and keeps costs down for parents.

So, if you could see what the school for your children does, or indeed ideas you may have, please let me know. I'm building a catalogue of ideas and want to offer solutions to small schools in my area that are suffering financially and want to do "my bit" for my local area - all voluntary and beneficial.

To recap - I want the ideas to be as unique as possible. Something that a lot of schools should be doing but arent doing. Even the most simplest things are often the best ideas! Personally I love the idea of supplying the school crest to parents. Going Green is big right now - perhaps the school could adopt a policy of "ride your bike to school" week.

I look forward to all your suggestions. In the spirit of things I will award points equally to those who participate.
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Technical Director
I saw this in the lounge. This is an interesting question.

There are many options, but the main issue is to get stickability with the school and parents alike. Many schools have so called 'friends of the school' groups which are largely current parents with kids in education there, but also former teachers and parents, even pupils.

Usually the bigger the school the bigger the support group. In many schools this does not go further then the fundraiser, traditionally the Summer and Christmas fare, maybe a sports fest.

So you should probably head in that direction first and find out what exists and what has been done in the past. In general this splits in the BIGGER and SMALLER categories:

Think big
The main aspect is to find out what the school really needs. Some may struggle with IT support costs or the electricity bill. So you could get ideas for support together using local businesses or help to reduce energy bills by finding alternative technologies such as Solar or Wind. There are also companies out there offering schemes that allow cheap acquisition of equipment for IT or Enrgy supplies.

Local businesses will be run by local families all with vested interested in good education so again, knowing what the school needs is a key. In many ways you don't want the money approach but a sustainability approach. If you can achieve savings by structuring an alternative solution to a costly problem, you are making a better choice than simply paying for the problem to go away.

At the moment CRC is a big topic for schools, this is the government carbon reduction commitment. Many schools will have to demonstrate that they can reduce CO2 emissions to meet government targets. Many schools will struggle with this as this may require insulation or new boilers etc. Again it may be an idea to link local businesses to sponsor the schools depending on their needs.

You need to get clued up on what can be done without having tax implications for the school.

On a smaller scale
Many schools offer days out for kids to go to museums and such. Quite often they need parental support to go away as looking after loads of children is tricky. You could help organise volunteers that after being CRB checked can accompany days out.

You can help organising a recycling scheme, this could stretch as far as local businesses again. Especially with paper recycling you could apply this in the truest sense, many schools would be happy to have paper for arts and crafts or other materials that fit the curriculum. Again speak with the teachers to identify needs.

Just some ideas for starters...
Speed54Sales Representative
How about getting in with the local businesses and getting sponsorship - eg sports teams outfitted by a local business with the sponsors name on them
Since You want to help the school and you don't want to put much burden on the students/parents, you are left with the only option 'Funds collecting'. Organize some music programme or any other for collecting funds.


All great contributions, thanks all.

I am really interested in school ethos we could instill - maybe changing the school motto once a year and deciding on the meaning of it.

Child of the month?

"Merit" badges for hard work and merit badges for contributions etc
Our school has an after-school program to watch elementary school kids in the cafeteria.  It's a cross between study hall, babysitting, and social time.  There is a nominal fee to enroll the child for the year...around $40 IIRC.  The kids are not on a schedule...they can enter & leave from right after the school bell until ~5pm.

This lets parents handle work schedules and other children.  Also a plus when weather or traffic cause delays.  The child always has a place to go, instead of just "hanging out".

There is a set study period of 40 minutes...quiet time for homework or reading.  After that, the kids can talk, play games, or continue to do homework or read.  Indoors.  Loosely supervised by local students that are junior-high to high-school age.

The cost for a babysitter or nanny or daycare service is huge.  I know some parents pay $1,000 or more a month...that's out of our budget.   This fits the bill for occasional needs, one or two days a week, or for just a 1/2-hour a day to accommodate the sleep schedule of a sibling.

The program is sponsored by the local Parks & Rec division.

It's a far cry better than the penalties assessed by some schools.  $X per minute, then calling the police to turn over the child.

Makes parents feel like the school and community are taking care of the student and the family.

Sorry, not a revenue enhancer.   But, with the money saved and good will earned, I'm more likely to contribute financially to fundraisers.
Hi oconnork00

Are you asking about Primary Schools or Secondary Schools? (ie. about 7 to 11/12 or 11/12 to 16/17)

The county, city, town, and village also has a lot to do with parents', teachers' and pupils' desire to participate.  There is a big difference between the mentality of all in a smaller rural or village school comprising 200 pupils compared with a large urban one with 1,500 pupils.

You know what has really screwed things up since I was at school?

All the half-witted morons who devise "Health and Safety" type legislation and pandering to so-called minority groups.  Our parents once had to bake cakes for cake sales to raise money for a new assembly hall which was not possible within the prevailing budget.  These days there would be "Environmental Health" considerations in case others got E-Coli or Salmonella poisoning, and there would be arguments over whether to allow leavened bread, or have a preference for Naan or other "ethnic" delicacies, or over whether the kitchen where mother slaves over the hot stove to help raise funds is a Halal one.  Spotted Dick (Americans google this type of cake) would be banned because it contains vulgarities, there would be realistic concerns about whether the production kitchen contained traces of peanuts, or whether the ingredients contained additives tentatively believed to cause hyperactivity, migraines, cancer, or Alzhymer's Disease.

"Going Green is big right now - perhaps the school could adopt a policy of 'ride your bike to school' week."

Yes, that one too.  Kids these days are either driven to school by their stressed out parents when there is a drizzle in the air or when the temperature falls below 4 degrees celcius, or else are ushered across every road by local council employed Hi-Viz-clad "School Crossing" personnel such that they don't have to look left, then right, then left again and can thus keep looking at the mobile phone clasped firmly in their sweaty little hands.  Get them on a bike?  Huh!  What about the traffic that might endanger them whilst en route?  Who would carry the insurance or suffer the law suit if one was knocked down by a dizzy 4x4 driver, or fell off and grazed their knee?  Who would pay the recompense to parents who struggle to afford the uniform when the bike was stolen or damaged at the school?

Nope, too many potential obstructions in the way of that otherwise great idea, and it's not because of your lack of imagination or picking the wrong idea, it's because of political correctness gone mad, the law suit mentality prevailing, and the general idea that kids these days need to be packed in cotton wool.

We used to cycle 7 miles to school and (obviously) the same back again.  The school had cycle sheds that were locked once everyone was in.  We cycled in all weather and it kept us fit.  A lot of X-Box couch potato kids these days would fall off from exhaustion.

Another very good idea you presented:
"Hiring school books - parents often have to buy books for the curriculum. However some schools will rent books to parents for their children. This is another revenue stream and keeps costs down for parents"
has its own potential set of problems in that who would be responsible for the replacement cost of the hired book being chewed up by the pet Rottweiler or stained by Red Bull?  That would then involve having parents sign a legal document ratified by the Legal Services Department of whoever administrates the school, then trying to later enforce the clauses.

In my day it was assumed, without a 10 page legally binding agreement, that the books "hired" from the school library for the purposes of the curriculum would be maintained in good order or else our parents would have to buy a new one, and in that event we would surely get the same money systematically deducted from our "pocket money" if we had damaged the book carelessly.

I know this all sounds very negative and cynical, but (taking away a bit of the intended ridiculousness in some of the examples) there are a lot of unforeseen problems lurking to defeat many a good idea in this sad society we live in.

You will be the best judge of the type of issues that would have to be considered for each idea through knowing other parents, knowing just how crazy some of the "policies" are locally with regard to schools and education, etc.

I hope you do get some really creative ideas and moreover I sincerely hope that they are fully implemented and supported for the common good.  Don't allow an old cynic like me to put you off ;-)
Aaaah, just spotted another possible quibble waiting to happen:

"Child of the month?"

I can hear faint sounds of neputism, favouratism, sectarianism, social exclusion, ethnic intolerance, disability ignorance, etc, etc, etc.  We have had such arguments, and obligatory law suits, in my town over "beautiful baby" photo competitions run by local newspapers, and I agree with the very valid argument presented thus:
Who has the right to judge whether a child with Down's Syndrome is any less beautiful than a child born with one less chromosome?

We used to have a chart on the wall onto which the teacher applied different coloured sticky stars to indicate excellence, and occasionally there would be names mentioned in the general assembly in the morning of those pupils who were worthy of a special mention, but I fear that these days this might lead to "cyber bullying" by mobile phone or Instant Messaging, YouTube, or facebook and somebody other than the perpetrators (namely the organiser) would be to held accountable for instigating the root cause!


Hey all,

Havent forgotten about this - just was away for a couple weeks. Hoping some more answers may trickle in. Will close it 9th jan.


Hi all,

I was hoping for a few more ideas out of this questions - BillDL thanks for the awareness of a letigious society we all live in - no good deed goes unpunished and I guess your post really does illustrate this.
Yes, sorry for casting such a dark, pessimistic, and cynical shadow over your great ideas ("great ideas" being used sincerely on this occasion).  I too was hoping to see some inspiring suggestions, and I would be annoyed at myself if my negative attitude has dissuaded others from contributing.


Thank you all for your contributions.
Thank you oconnork00