It’s time to go back to school. Forget the homework and just bring your work gloves.
As reported in the Star by Alexis Huicochea, the Tucson Unified School District is looking for volunteers for its Adopt-A-School program, which kicks off Saturday at Holladay Magnet Elementary School. Participants will paint hallways and classrooms, build structures to display student art and plant trees around the campus.
Adopt-A-School offers volunteers the chance to directly contribute to a superior learning environment for students. We should all take advantage of this opportunity to support our schools.
The program came about after district officials mobilized their staff to repair the roof at Van Buskirk Elementary after monsoon winds tore off part of the structure. Their joint effort allowed them to quickly fix the damage before the first day of school and planted the seed for the volunteer effort.
Around the community, the power of volunteers coming together to help schools can work wonders. Last year, Laguna Elementary, in the Flowing Wells Unified School District, was given a complete makeover by members of Victory Worship Center.
One thousand volunteers descended on the school and built a volleyball court, replaced counter tops and cabinets, landscaped the grounds and repainted buildings, classrooms, murals and fencing — all on a single Saturday.
“They did things in one day that I don’t think we could have done in 10 years,” former Flowing Wells Superintendent Nicholas Clement told us. “It wasn’t that the school was in bad shape, but students came back Monday just in awe of what happened to their school.”
The impact of these efforts is not limited to a school simply being more pleasing to the eye. Studies have shown there is a correlation between the condition of a school and student behavior and performance.
For TUSD, the Adopt-A-School program is not an excuse to get volunteers to do work the district should be doing. Its goal is to address projects beyond the scope of general maintenance, officials said, as it beautifies and improves schools to better student development.
Officials plan to continue their efforts throughout the district and have scheduled another volunteer day for January at Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School. Schools will be selected based on need, but future plans also depend on the response the district receives from the community.
Involvement matters. The fact that public schools are underfunded should not lead us to just shrug our shoulders and rail at the Legislature. It should be seen as a call to action, Clement said.
“Don’t spend your time and energy talking, writing and complaining about the fact we’re underfunded; do something about it.”
We wholeheartedly agree.