Playing his part as the “education mayor,” Karl Dean signed an executive order this morning establishing a new program that allows Metro employees to volunteer in Metro schools during the workweek.
At a press conference this morning at Warner Enhanced Option School in East Nashville, Dean outlined the specifics of a plan that gives government employees the opportunity to receive up to two hours of paid administrative leave in exchange for one hour of volunteer work. The event marked Dean’s 37th executive order over more than two years as mayor.
“Research has shown that when students are paired up with volunteer tutors or mentors, they are more likely to improve their grades, be more engaged in school, and most importantly, graduate from high school,” Dean told a classroom of educators.
All volunteers under the new program, coordinated by the nonprofit PENCIL Foundation and the Mayor’s Office of Children and Youth, will in the short-term work at 10 participating schools, where activities could include tutoring and various beautification projects. As the initiative evolves, the list of schools is expected to grow.
“The volunteer opportunities for Metro employees are many and vary,” Dean said. “I feel certain that Metro employees will have a passion of giving and will find a place where their talents and knowledge can benefit our schools.”
Though not directly part of the new program, Dean also encouraged employers of private businesses to create their own unique policies to allow employees to spend time in Metro schools.
“I appreciate the mayor taking this approach,” said Director of Schools Jesse Register. “Volunteerism really does work. It can be very effective. When employers give their employees an opportunity to do this as a part of their work week, it can really make a significant difference.”
Besides Warner, other participating schools are:
Dan Mills Elementary School
John Early Elementary School
Cane Ridge Elementary School
Dodson Elementary School
East Literature Magnet School
J.T. Moore Middle School
Madison Middle School
McGavock High School
Wharton Elementary School