Me. And you.
That’s the message the Nevada Public Education Foundation (NPEF), the Council for Excellence in Education and a group of community business and education leaders unveiled Wednesday afternoon at an official launch ceremony for the Washoe Ready for Life Community Compact.
The compact holds everyone in the community who signs on responsible by outlining ways each person can contribute to educating local students.
A large group of students, educators and community leaders gathered at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center to kick off an aggressive advertising campaign for the community compact and a new approach to engaging the entire community in the education of northern Nevada’s students.
“Providing students with a good education is imperative to northern Nevada’s workforce development and economic restoration,” a NPEF press release states. “This campaign will initiate a new understanding of the importance of education and extend responsibilities beyond parents and students — making it a community-wide effort.”
The community compact, which has been about one year in the making, was originally conceived by a large group of business leaders who collaborated to form the Council for Excellence in Education.
Laura Granier, a local attorney and president of the NPEF, said the group took a concept being used nationwide — a contract of responsibility between parents and educators — and decided to find a way to get every member of the community involved in such a compact.
What evolved is the Washoe Ready for Life Community Compact, which currently includes one-page compacts for 17 sectors of the community. To sign on, all one must do is visit www.readyforlifenv.org, find their sector, sign the compact and commit to being involved by taking a course of action outlined by the compact.
For example, a member of a business organization can sign on to provide employee parents opportunities to communicate and interact with their children’s teachers and administrators to ensure that their children are on the “pathway to graduation.” Or a business leader might opt to contribute money or surplus supplies to the Education Warehouse program, which provides teachers and schools with needed items for classroom work.
“We are trying to get everyone to sign on to make sure each child graduates ready for life,” Granier said.
Though the compact only has 17 sectors at this time, it is expected to grow and evolve as more community members submit more ideas.
“It’s been a work in progress,” said Daryl Drake, a community real estate broker who was instrumental in forming the Council for Excellence in Education. “And it will continue to be a work in progress.”
Granier explained that the Washoe Ready For Life campaign in not a new organization, but rather an umbrella organization that encompasses all existing programs that support education. The Ready for Life website will include a registry where community programs will list their needs and community members can commit to filling those needs.
“We know we have a superstar superintendent,” Granier said of Washoe County School District Superintendent Heath Morrison, but Morrison and the staff of WCSD can’t do it alone.
“Spread the word to everyone you know,” Granier said. “Get involved.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval is backing the Ready for Life initiative and is featured in a commercial that will be launched soon.
“If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that there’s never been anything like the Washoe Ready for Life Community Compact,” Sandoval wrote in a message for a program flier. “The time for finger-pointing is long gone. If you want to know who is responsible for helping to create more Washoe County high school graduates, for helping more young northern Nevadans become ready for life, look in the mirror.
“It’s time to say, ‘It starts with me.’ ”