Advocacy & Outreach
Today's students are growing up in a global, complex and highly competitive society that demands much more than a basic education. It is the duty and mission of DCS to provide students with the depth and breadth of educational programs and services so they have the skills and knowledge to be college and career-ready, whether their plans include higher education, the workplace, a trade or craft, family business or the military.
In recent years, Duanesburg Central School District and other small, rural school districts have been challenged in their mission to continue providing a high-quality education by flat or decreasing school aid, rising costs, increasing state mandates and the state's tax levy limit.
DCS is proud of its schools, students and community, and committed to moving forward as a place where people want to live, raise and educate their children. The district encourages the community to be a part of that process and help prepare students for the future.
The district also remains committed to balancing the needs of its students and schools with fiscal responsibility and the needs of the community. Steps taken by the board of education and district leaders in recent years have put DCS on firm financial footing and ensured a brighter future.
Every budget season, DCS officials review the district’s expenses and try to find areas where savings can be sought. DCS also shares services, participates in bulk purchasing and procures grants to fund some areas of the budget.
How to take action
Advocacy takes many forms. It could be a formal letter to an elected official asking for change, an informal letter with an anecdote, a comment made during a public forum, a letter to a newspaper editor or formal testimony at public hearings.
It's not as hard as you might think to become an advocate for education--and your school district. Anyone can be an advocate. The only requirement is to have a desire to stand up for and support students and your school district!
Effective advocates to their homework. They know the issues and plan their communications accordingly. Most of all, they give their time and energy to advance their cause.
What does effective advocacy look like?
Personal contact with your elected representatives helps build relationships and establishes open lines of communication that ensure that the district's story is being heard by people who can help take action. Whether your choose to contact your elected representatives by phone, email or in person, please keep in mind the following tips and courtesies to help you convey your message in the most effective and respectful way possible.
Be brief. Stick to your key points ("laser talk") and be mindful that legislators are often very busy and face a variety of special interest groups that compete for their time and attention. By keeping your conversation brief, your message is more likely to be heard and remembered. Additionally, your elected officials will appreciate and value your succinct delivery and courtesy of their busy schedules.
Be respectful. Even if you disagree on a position, be respectful in your dialogue and stick to the facts. When appropriate be passionate, not emotional. Remember this adage: "You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar."
Be clear and specific. Let your elected representatives know exactly what you want them to do (i.e., vote in favor of a bill, pass legislation) in a way that requires a "yes" or "no" response. Ask them how they will vote, follow up on your conversation and hold them accountable.
Be a reliable source of information. Research your issue and know the facts so that you can provide accurate information to legislators and be able to answer their questions. Do not assume that legislators know specifics about Duanesburg Schools or education issues in general. Be prepared to follow up with answers to any questions you many not know on the spot.
Be honest about your concerns. Convey the real situation, even if it is harsh. Share the ramifications of an action/inaction for Duanesburg Schools and students. Use personal or compelling stories coupled with facts and data.
Be timely and persistent. If an issue has a deadline, such as the passage of the state budget, make sure you give your elected representatives time to respond to the issue. Frequent, regular reminders about the importance of the issue, particularly from more than one advocate, can increase the likelihood that legislators will pay attention to a cause.
|Tips for effective written correspondence|
|Some forms of written communication are more effective than others. For example, emails and form letters are good, but personal letters convey a stronger message. They demonstrate the importance of your concerns and the level of your interest by showing that you took the time to make them known. Writing a letter and making a follow-up phone call takes a few extra minutes, but those steps ensure that your elected representatives know just how you want to be represented.|
|When writing a letter, you should:|
|The letter should include the following parts:|
|Tips for effective in-person meetings|
|A face-to-face meeting with your elected representative(s) is a great way to personalize an issue, and to make sure that your message is heard. It is also a great opportunity to educate your representative about a particular issue and to answer any questions they may have on the topic. Community members can opt to meet with legislators on an individual basis, or go in a small group (no more than four people.)|
|Before the meeting|
|During the meeting|
|After the meeting|
|Tips for using social media to advocate|
|Family and friends use social media to stay in touch, but legislators also use it to connect with constituents. As a community advocate, you can tap into the power of social media to help spread the word about the challenges facing public schools.|
|Have a Facebook page?|
What to do - and not to do - when talking with legislators
Advocacy tool kit
Looking for a handy summary of the information and tips on this webpage?
Additional resources to aid with advocacy
If you would like to learn more about advocacy and the issues facing public education, visit these websites: