September is 'Take Your Legislator to School Month'

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September is 'Take Your Legislator to School Month'

School districts are encouraged to find creative ways to bring lawmakers onto their campuses during September as part of “Take Your Legislator to School Month.” The designation is the result of House Concurrent Resolution 1008 by Rep. Charlotte Douglas, R-Alma. Douglas is a member of the House Education Committee and a retired anatomy and physiology teacher who taught for 25 years at West Memphis, Sparkman, Fort Smith and Van Buren. The resolution encourages public school districts to make their campuses available to members of the General September is ‘Take Your Legislator to School Month’ Assembly, develop special events that increase awareness of the schools’ achievements and challenges, and foster positive working relationships between school officials and legislators. Take your Legislator to School LogoDuring a kickoff event at the Capitol Aug. 10, Douglas said, “We want the schools to bring out challenges that they face. We also want to let the schools brag about what they’re doing successfully. ... But then at the end of the conversation, we want solutions, and if we start talking about those solutions in the interim right now, then when we get to the session, we feel like that we will have a good package of things to bring to the legislation.”ASBA encourages board members and local school officials to reach out to their legislators to build relationships and inform them of the needs in their district and the state. Planning an event that brings legislators on the campus is a way to do that. School districts are asked to keep ASBA informed about their activities both before and after they happen. Douglas encouraged school districts to invite legislators into environments that will “cater to (their) strengths.” For example, schools should invite legislators who are bankers to an economics class, and legislators who are farmers to an agriculture class. Because of her background, she said she often hears from educators, but some legislators don’t, and their personal experience with local school districts is minimal. “I think some legislators feel like maybe going to school and doing a check presentation is telling the story of that school, and I think this broadens what those activities are going to be,” she said.