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Speaker wants Macleod to talk about education

Jamie Vollmer

Jamie Vollmer will be in Fort Macleod Monday, Aug. 29 to talk about getting more interaction between schools and communities.

Jamie Vollmer wants to see a conversation growing in Fort Macleod.
The U.S. public education advocate and author of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” is guest speaker at a Livingstone Range School Division session at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall on Monday, Aug. 29.
Vollmer’s 9-11 a.m. talk is open to the public, after which he’ll facilitate a workshop for a mix of community representatives — parents, teachers, high school students, and school trustees — who will seek to come up with a plan to engage the public.
The event, called “Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Better Schools Together,” is aimed at fostering more interaction between schools and communities.
“It’s what I call The Great Conversation,” Vollmer explained. “It’s a proactive, positive conversation between the jurisdiction’s educators and the people of the communities they serve.”
“It’s a simple, inexpensive, step-by-step program that any community can use to help all students unfold their full potential.”
Former president of the Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company in Iowa, Vollmer turned from antagonist to public education advocate after an incident in which he attempted to enlighten an auditorium full of teachers as to their need to pattern their schools after his very successful business.
Vollmer’s company’s blueberry ice cream had been lauded the best in America, and he was — not without an element of smugness — trying to tell the educators they needed to learn from him how to put out a quality product.
Vollmer met his nemesis in the form of “a razor-edged, veteran, high school English teacher,” who pinned him to the wall with her response.
Vollmer recounts the incident, calling it “Blueberry Story,” in his acclaimed book, “Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools.”
It’s also on his Web site jamievollmer.com.
“There’s a good chance the story will come up (in Fort Macleod),” Vollmer said.
The incident started a transformation in Vollmer.
“Subsequent visits to schools, spending time as a teacher’s aide, watching teachers and administrators struggle to respond to an ever-increasing list of mandates . . . all these things helped me understand the changes facing schools,” Vollmer said.
Vollmer is president of Vollmer, Inc., a public education advocacy firm working to increase student success by raising public support for America’s schools.
At the Fort Macleod session he’ll be emphasizing the need for the public to get involved in schools.
“My premise, as the title of my book suggests, is that the people who work in Alberta’s schools increasingly need public understanding and support,” Vollmer said. “My hope is that the participants learn the steps necessary to take their message to the public in ways that produce the needed support.”
Vollmer hopes everyone in the community will take in his talk whether they have children in school or not.
“Every path to the future of Fort Macleod is running through those classroom doors,” Vollmer said.
In addition to his book and numerous articles, Vollmer has written and produced the videos, “Why Our Schools Need to Change,” “Teachers are Heroes,” and “Building Support for America’s Schools.”
Vollmer became a public education champion after careers in business and law. He holds a Juris Doctor from Catholic University in Washington, DC.

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  • There are 358 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, including one in Claresholm.
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