Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome to Circle U!

Summer is almost over!  For many of us, whether we be a student or parent, administrator or teacher, it means that school is about to begin again- pre-school, elementary, middle, high school, and college alike.

The new clothes smell, new notebooks, paper, and pens; seeing old friends and teachers or meeting new ones-- can evoke feelings of anticipation or trepidation.  Ahhh yes!  I can remember the first days of my own college career at The Citadel.  It looked something like this:

Summer 1986.  First days at The Citadel-- introduction to the 4th Class System.

I know, it looks like I was under a bit of duress, but I can assure you that I was a cool as a cucumber on the inside.  I learned a lot in those 4 years—and not just in the classroom.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, I hope that you’ll join me in welcoming all of our students and teachers, MCPS or otherwise, back to school this year (Is that uproarious applause I hear?).  However, this year there is a new group of both teachers and learners who will be “making their way to the school-house.”  They are the folks who make up one of the newest schools in Montgomery County—Circle U!

Those of you who know us well and who have been following along probably guessed that Circle U’s primary unit for learning, exchange, and change is the circle—or more precisely, The Opportunity Circle.

Circle U! are regular folks from all walks of life and every corner of the planet.  They are building momentum to connect with wonderful institutions like Montgomery College, or a team of Health Educators from Montgomery County HHS or Adventist Hospital, or with English tutors skills in the MCAEL network.  They are also teaching each other (and the rest of us!) things like how to sew, how to search for a job, how to screen print t-shirts, how to start a business,  how to engage your neighbors in a civic action or event, and how to thrive together in a multicultural community!  

Over 100 people have already been engaged in this kind of teaching, learning, and action together in 12 Opportunity Circles across Montgomery County.  On September 7th, we will reconvene these circles, along with all of the participants and their family and friends to celebrate the progress that they have already made—and to formally launch Circle U!  The invitation is below.  We hope you’ll make time to join us—at the event and in an Opportunity Circle.  Until then--

Welcome to Circle U!  Your university.  The Peoples’ University.