Gainesville City School System
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D2D Collaboration Partners
Direct To Discovery is largely dependent on participating school districts establishing local eCommunities as a perpetual source of new and exciting collaborative opportunities. Traditionally, K-12 schools reach out to their local communities for financial assistance, use of a facility, asking for folks to lend a hand taking tickets at sports events and so on. In an eCommunity system, the relationship is much more focused on the primary missions of both the school district and local businesses.
D2D disrupts conventional partnerships between school districts and the communities they serve to establish long-term teaching collaborations that invite local companies to participate directly in the development and delivery of D2D course enhancements (classroom projects) and thus contribute in a more meaningful fashion to the development of the local work force. Such an arrangement strengthens the tie between education and economic development in a manner equally beneficial to both sides of the collaboration.
Once a district fully embraces this concept of “collaborative leadership” businesses and schools can build an eCommunity that can act as a business friendly magnet to attract new resources into the county. Not only that, but since this entire concept is networked-based, even the smallest communities can make major gains by trading “course enhancements” that are unique to their location for collaborations that will bring wonderful new learning opportunities to their students – for free.
The following example is a real life demonstration of how this all comes together:
In Barrow County, a wonderful new business began operating just a couple of years ago. It started as a garage based enterprise and currently operates as a major business out of our industrial park. The company name is Premium Crickets and they are members of our eCommunity.
Just as the name implies, Premium Crickets exports crickets. In fact they sell the best darn crickets, roaches, worms and frozen rodents you ever saw! And they sell a lot of them. Last year’s shipping charges alone topped $2 million. They do business with labs, movie makers, reptile farms and a host of other customers most of us don’t think about on a daily basis.
As members of our eCommunity they conduct Direct To Discovery sessions with our schools on a regular basis. Insects of course fit into our science curriculum quite nicely in topic areas such as the food chain, soil enrichment, exotic foods, and evolution. And, the reptiles are bred for specific features such as snakes with white scales and a brown head and so forth making them the perfect subject for classes on hereditary traits. And believe us when we tell you that nothing gets the attention of a fifth grade class like giant hissing roaches crawling all over a wireless camera that has been dropped into their pen!
In South Georgia some of our counties are located near swamps that have interesting and unique food chains of their own. And of course farmers in central Georgia may have a different slant on insects all together! But put them all together and you have an incredibly powerful teaching tool that leverages what is unique in three different locations to bring state-of-the-art learning opportunities to even the poorest of them.
We envision schools with a new capacity to reach into their local communities to form co-teaching partnerships with businesses, agencies, and organizations. We see schools organizing these partnerships into an on-line eCommunity serving as a perpetual resource for new collaborations. We see schools constantly leveraging these new resources to solve real instructional issues and to create a vast array of new learning opportunities for all students across the curriculum. And finally, our hope is to see eCommunity districts across Georgia united on a common portal to share collaborations so students in Ware County can offer a live collaborations on the unique food chain at the local swamp to Gainesville City students in exchange for a live microscope session from the North Georgia Health Services Center and so on and so on.
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