DPS Corner: Next year, get involved with our schools

Jun. 23, 2014 @ 09:33 AM

The beginning of a new year is traditionally the time to make a resolution: to set the intention to make a positive difference in your life and the life of those around you. As educators, those of us in Durham Public Schools rarely think of a new year beginning on Jan. 1. Instead we think of that time in August (or July for our year-round schools) when we welcome our students to a school year full of promise and opportunity.
This summer, as our teachers re-energize and our administrative staff makes plans for 2014-15, we invite you to make a New School Year’s Resolution: Help our students reach greater heights by getting involved in our schools, whether as an individual volunteer or as an organizational partner.
DPS is blessed with supportive community members who hold high expectations of our schools and back those expectations through their own time and efforts. We have tutors and mentors, media center volunteers, office helpers and more. Community organizations such as the East Durham Children’s Initiative and businesses such as Fidelity Investments have become active partners with our schools, providing important educational and physical enhancements to our students’ daily experience.
Some schools have access to more resources than others, however. At a time when state funding remains uncertain and academic standards remain high, your impact as a compassionate volunteer or partnering organization is crucial.
It’s easy to volunteer or commit to a partnership. For individuals, just go to the (new and improved) DPS website at www.dpsnc.net, click the “Volunteers and Partnerships” menu on the navigation bar and choose “Volunteer in our Schools.” From there, you may register to volunteer through a simple online form that includes a brief background check for our students’ safety. Your approval will be good for two years, and will allow you to volunteer in any school in the district. You may also search for volunteer opportunities through our website if you do not already have a relationship with a school.
We are especially interested in bringing the energies of Durham’s faith communities, non-profits and businesses to our schools. From the “Volunteers and Partnerships” menu, choose “Become a Partner.” Our online Partnership Portal will allow your organization to be matched with schools or departments with the greatest need or synergy with your interests. This allows our community stakeholders to become true partners in education—and a centralized contact will help you cut down on the numerous phone calls that might otherwise result from your search for a partnering opportunity.
Regina Nickson, DPS’s community engagement liaison, stands ready to help our Durham community find a way to help all Durham students reach their best potential. We hope you will make that New School Year Resolution for our boys and girls. Please give Regina a call at (919) 560-2082, or email her at regina.nickson@dpsnc.net. Thank you!
DPS Corner appears on the last Tuesday of every month.