Question: Exactly what kind of table do we need a seat at? Kitchen table? Periodic Table? Round table pizza? Table of Contents? I kid, of course! In community schools work, that phrase does not refer to actual tables necessarily. Rather, it alludes to inclusion in groups that have the power to make important decisions. In a school, those groups might be the school site council (SSC), administrative teams, and department head meetings, to name a few. When instructional staff and community partners work collaboratively and intentionally together to make decisions toward a common goal, they are practicing one of the most important concepts of the community schools model: shared leadership. Let’s face it, though, not everyone is invited to meetings. So what are other options?
I submit that any situation where you find yourself in a position to use your voice to engage those who have the power to make decisions in service of those you care about– especially about something they care about– you are at the table! When you stop a teacher in the hallway to tell her something she may not know about her student, you are at the table. When you bring community/parent concerns to gatherings where they are mentioned but are not present, you are at the table. As we continue growing in our practice of community schools concepts and making progress toward actualization of the full and robust model as a system, let’s embrace every interaction as a seat at the table.