In NSW, at least, many public schools have sub-committees of the Parent & Citizens that assist the school in various areas. There’s often a music committee and a sports committee, sometimes an arts committee or drama committee. But rare as hen’s teeth is the Science and Technology Committee – I’m on one and would advocate for every school to have one.
The committees’ role mirrors that of the P&C: it’s to mobilise parents to help the school. Sometime’s that easy to see: running a uniform shop, organising band practices, are well-worn paths. If you’re into STEM and want to help the school the path is less clear, but not impossible to find with some effort.
Here are some things a Science and Technology Committee can do (or at least the one I’m on does):
- Offer advice to the school on issues like BYOD and how that impacts families;
- Arrange for speakers to come to talk to the school or specific classes on science topics;
- Organise a school science and technology trip (it shouldn’t only be the band that gets to travel);
- Organise coding clubs;
- Help teachers when intensive tasks like getting incoming Year 7s onto the network roll around.
Some of these take some time, but most actually don’t especially when spread among some enthusiasts. The important point is not the specific list, but that there is a direct possibility to do something about STEM in schools rather than just bemoaning that schools are not doing enough.
The P&C is both the appropriate forum to do this through in a public school and the safest as it provides umbrella insurance for sub-committees and a sensible operating structure. The first step is to get agreement from the school principal and the P&C executive (which should be easy in today’s climate when all schools are focusing on what to do about STEM) and then get a few people together to work out what to focus on.
There is a way to make a difference.