Letters to the Editor, June 2016
BVT Supt-Dir Michael Fitzpatrick Advocates for School AdvocacyDear Editor,
In an era when a superintendent is expected to be a visionary, what better way to gain a glimpse of the likely future than active advocacy?
As superintendent of a regional vocational school district in New England, I have found that the activity, if not art, of advocacy brings multiple rewards. Educational leaders who venture out in the community increase public awareness of what is happening in their classrooms while gaining timely insight into what the community expects from its schools. Superintendents who monitor and contribute to proposed state or federal legislation enter the pipeline of change and potential opportunity. By actively pursuing working relationships with state, local, and federal policymakers, we ensure that field-based researchers have a grass roots perspective and in turn benefit from a greater understanding of the rationale behind legislative proposals which impact our schools.
Today's public is asked to direct limited local financial resources to fund education. It rightfully expects its educational leaders to be agile and creative in securing outside assets which complement that local investment. Clearly, applications for both formula and competitive grant proposals gain strength when aligned with the legislative discussions and rationales which established the opportunity.
In today's challenging and ever-changing fiscal and political environment, any chance to reduce the number of surprises should be maximized. The superintendent who is an active advocate for our schools will be able to spot change on the horizon, and will therefore be better equipped to respond to both challenges and opportunities.
Michael F. Fitzpatrick
Blackstone Valley Tech HS
Praise for Thanks to Yanks Vets Support OrganizationDear Editor,
For many years now, I have been donating to several large fundraisers in support of our troops. Giving back to the military service men and women who keep us safe by working tirelessly, day and night, in foreign territories, as well as at home, putting their lives on hold, and at risk for their country, is extremely important to me. I am so very thankful for all they do!
Recently, my husband and I met a group named “Thanks to Yanks” while attending oneo f their fundraisers. Once I saw the efforts of the small team members of this not-for-profit group, who live right here in Milford, I was taken aback by their excited, selfless, and professional volunteerism. There are NO paid employees, and they work hard just to give back to our U.S. military members, veterans, and their families. I am now retired, needing something I can do to fill in some open time, and I realized this was just what I needed to get involved in.
I have since joined Thanks to Yanks and can see with my own eyes their enthusiasm while discussing new ways to help our vets. I have already begun assisting the team, and my first call was helping with the donation of coffee from Dunkin Donuts to be sent to our military members in Afghanistan, along with donations of Girl Scout cookies. What's better than to help our veterans enjoy something right from home? Other ways they help our vets are Hope for Heroes, Homes for our Troops, and Vittles for Vets, to name a few.
Unlike other organizations, Thanks to Yanks has only our military in mind and are always exploring new ways of giving back to them. I would like to end this letter by saying, “Please do not lump all charities together.” Thanks to Yanks is a volunteer 501(C)(3)--not for profit-- organization. They provide support and resources to members of our military, veterans and their families; promote civilian respect for our military members, veterans and their families; and always remember the heroes and victims of 9/11/01, their sacrifices and the sacrifices of our military and their families who responded to the call to protect us and our freedom.
Thank you for your time!