by Elementary Principal Matt Renwick
In my 20 years in education, I have been asked this question by a student or two. I cannot recall my typical answer. Likely, I stumbled through a dry explanation such as, “Well, people pay taxes which goes toward all of our books, pencils…”
I am sure I have also been tempted to go into a more philosophical answer, such as explaining how a democratic society is dependent on an informed citizenry, and therefore everyone must take responsibility for public education. Thankfully I have avoided such an esoteric response.
But really: Who owns the school? My best answer is the local community and everyone who resides within it that the school district ultimately serves.
As an elementary faculty, we have devoted a lot of our professional learning this year to developing curriculum that engages our community with authentic student learning experiences. Classes travel to local organizations, conduct research about relevant issues that might also have global connections, and lead initiatives that benefit people and groups with specific needs.
These purposeful learning experiences are not just to be more visible in Mineral Point. We seek to deepen relationships between school and society. For example, if a student encounters a number of businesses and understands what knowledge and skills are necessary for entrepreneurship, the likelihood that they will stick around and contribute to our economy increases. There is a mutual benefit for both our students and for the city. Who is serving who?
You can see how complex this question is, “Who owns the school?”. We do. I do. You do. Whether you have kids, grandkids, or no kids in the school system, the outcomes of a great education are evident in both the sense of community we feel and the more tangible benefits that come with this investment. I cannot trace every dollar to show you how it benefits everyone; I simply trust that it does because I get to see this work firsthand. Our goal is that you see it, too.