How to Adopt-a-School
Adopt-A-School fosters a better understanding of the community's school system, strengthens and improves school programs and curricula, and creates a sense of personal involvement and interaction between organizations and schools.
Adopt-A-School programs do not generally require financial support from the sponsor. Neither party in the adoption is the sole beneficiary. The adopter derives a sense of satisfaction in service and benefits from excellent public relations throughout the community. The adoptee reaps benefits when the organization makes a commitment to assist in the development of the full educational potential of a school.
In an “Adopt-a-School” program individuals or groups generally work with a school to provide volunteers or financial resources to support instruction in the classroom. Aid may be provided to a single classroom or program within a school, or it may be a school or even system-wide initiative. Likewise, support may be furnished by a single individual, or a larger group.
Keys to Success
The success of an Adopt-a-School program hinges upon the identification of an individual who will champion the cause. Typically, this is a parent who wants to provide greater resources to his/her child’s school. Greater success is also achieved when the champion is supported by a larger group. In the case of industry, the individual may be supported financially (funds or in-kind donations such as supplies), be granted time during the workweek for outreach activities. ACS Local Sections can support the program in similar ways by providing financial support, supplies, volunteer training and/or additional volunteers. The probability of success will also depend in the regularity of the support given. Classroom support on a weekly or monthly basis is more likely to be seen as a dependable instructional resource.
Steps to Identify or Create an Adopt-a-School Program
- Conduct an Internet search to see what kinds of programs are currently available in your area; decide if working with/through one of these programs would be desirable.
- Identify the age of students to work with (elementary, middle school, or high school).
- Identify preferred geographical area (inner city, close to home/office).
- Identify resources that can be provided - donations (money or in-kind, such as furniture, books or computers, incentives for student/teacher recognition events) and/or time (tutoring, classroom visits, mentoring teachers or older students, special event, facilities improvements, such as painting or sprucing-up).
- Identify commitment desired – 1 time/week, 1 time/month, 1 time/year, special event, etc.
- Identify day of week/time preference (reality check: many schools prefer assistance during the school day – after-school and evening programs may be harder to implement depending on the school).
- Find a liaison at school or school system (teacher, principal, or parent) and discuss what you have to offer. Be flexible, and keep an open mind so that the program can be tailored to fit the school’s needs.
- Create an implementation plan (include goals & measurements, benefits of the program - to students, volunteers, and sponsoring organization).
- Recruit volunteers.
- Schedule and hold an orientation meeting for teachers and volunteers - allow time for the school principal to speak and for teachers & volunteers to get to know each other. Volunteers should become familiar with the school, its policies & procedures, etc.
- Promote your partnership.
- Implement activities.
- Evaluate partnership activities. (What was successful? What can be improved? Were goals met?)
- Celebrate what has been accomplished - with students, the school, the volunteer group, your local section and the public.
Benefits from Involvement
By participating in an Adopt-a-School program, you are investing in the future of our Society, our profession and our nation. Participation will also increase the visibility of our science, of any sponsors you may have and of your local section. Students and teachers in the program will grow in their understanding of chemistry and its positive contributions to our way of life. Sponsors can realize tax-savings through their in-kind and monetary donations, and volunteers will gain from their sense of accomplishment, teamwork and enjoyment.