Mayors Urged to Participate in Back-to-School
August 30, 2004
Mayors from around the nation are planning local city activities during the first days of the 2004-2005 school year. Mayors need to promote the "first day of school" as an important activity that parents and students do together. Started less than a decade ago in Bennington, Vermont, the First Day Foundation has created materials and information for local elected officials to use in initiating activities that encourage students along with parents to show up at their school for the first day, and other citizens to join and participate.
Active mayoral involvement in the first day of school celebrates the new school year and draws attention to the important relationship that the city has with its local educational system. Specific activities sponsored by mayors in conjunction with the local schools draw attention to the new year and encourages the entire community to become involved in education.
Cities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participate in "First Day." In several cities mayors have led the effort and have created a tradition and yearly rituals for the first day. In Nashville, Mayor Bill Purcell hosts a major rally to kick-off the school year, and gives city employees time off from work to attend the rally and take their kids to school for the first day. These types of actions energize the whole community.
Back-to-school is not just the first day of school. It actually lasts for the first several weeks to the first month of school. Mayors are encouraged to visit schools at this time, make proclamations about the beginning of the school year, and do other things that highlight the beginning of a new school year to the whole city. Numerous mayors around the country have been visiting schools every week, but do so with an announcement at the beginning of the year and continue these education-focused events throughout the year. Two mayors who have gained recognition for this type of action are Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper and Providence Mayor David Cicilline. Other mayors who have made a special point of visiting schools to heighten awareness of education during the initial weeks of the school year include Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz, San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, Manchester Mayor Robert Baines, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, and Conference President Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.
r Michael Coleman, Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz, San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, Manchester Mayor Robert Baines, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, and Conference President Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.
To obtain more information about and materials from the "First Day Foundation," visit its website at www.firstday.org.
Please send any articles and pictures about your efforts during the Back-to-school season so we can put articles in future US Mayors. Send articles and pictures to Fritz Edelstein at email@example.com.