School District Names Roselle to New Community Outreach Position
Laveen Elementary School District recently named Dr. Joe Roselle to a new position on the district’s administrative staff to serve as a liaison for the community and to improve funding sources through grants, business partnerships and other opportunities.
Dr. Bill Johnson, district superintendent, said it’s been 10 years since the district had a dedicated grants writer. The new position, director of community partners and grants, encompasses grant writing as well as building relations between the district and the community.
“We recognize that our community, our parents and our business leaders have a really valuable and important role to play in our school district,” Johnson said. “I think school districts have to be an integral part of the community and really can’t have success if they don’t have the support of the community. “
For several years the amount of money Arizona spends per child on education has been dropping steadily, which puts Arizona at 48th nationwide in a 2013 ranking of per capita spending for education, according to numbers provided by the Census Bureau.
Laveen Elementary School District, like many others in the state and elsewhere, looks to other resources to supplement the meager state and federal dollars that comprise their budgets.
“There’s no question about it that schools in Arizona in general are perpetually short of resources and the financial revenues to meet the needs of the students,” Johnson said. “Any time we can increase our revenue through grants or donations it is going to be a real plus for our district.”
Johnson said Roselle was a perfect for the job because of the multiple partnerships he’s built within the community while serving as principal at Laveen Elementary School. He’s been in that position since the 2006-2007 school year, and helped guide the transition of the school and faculty from its old location at Dobbins Road and 51st Avenue to the new facilities at 4141 W. McNeil St. While there during the past decade, Rosellle has cultivated partnerships with the Arizona United Soccer Club, local media stations and multiple local business owners who visit the school and serve as mentors and role models in “The Leader in Me” program.
“Dr. Roselle has set the standards for us in Laveen in developing those partnerships, ‘’ Johnson said. “We want to use his multiple skills across the entire district. He’s really shown the rest of us how to connect.”
Roselle noted that school districts have “to do more with less” and that they have to “expand their brand” within their communities.
“We want to create an opportunity for businesses and other community leaders to come in and see what we do in our schools,” Roselle said. “In turn, the students see this positive role modeling from the people who live and work in their community.”
In the Laveen district, for example, each of the elementary schools has a specified focus. While Laveen Elementary has “The Leader in Me” program to focus on student empowerment, Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy has a fast-paced academic environment. Trailside Point focuses on performing arts, and the new Paseo Point, opening this fall, features a Spanish-immersion program.
“Each school has its own brand,” Roselle said. He says his job is to make sure the community and potential business partners know those brands and how they can help contribute to the success of the schools.
Johnson said having a dedicated grant writer or a community outreach liaison is fairly typical among school districts. “It’s not unusual to have someone in this type of position, but I don’t know if it’s typical for those roles to be combined into one. I think it’s a good use of our resources. Dr. Roselle can focus more attention and time on building those partnerships.”
Rose Tring is a long-time journalist and owner of AZ Media Maven, a Laveen-based marketing and public relations company. She is also the founder of FinditinLaveen.com, a local business directory and free community calendar. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org