Charley’s World – Episode Eight

When Charley got home from the Thanksgiving ceremony, his phone was lit up. He had seven voicemail messages. Three messages were from former teachers, now retired, who wanted to know how they could help do what he had done with Natty and Marco. Four messages were from parents asking if Charley could help their children. Apparently, the word had spread about Charley helping children with reading challenges. He went to bed with lots of thoughts swirling around in his head and feeling somewhat overwhelmed.

That next morning, Charley couldn’t believe the headlines in the paper: Finally, the County Will Get Accessible Internet Service.

Charley had paid extra for the internet service he had, but it was spotty. Very few other places in the county had functioning internet service. The earlier funding that had been provided for internet access had been squandered.

One line in the article intrigued Charley: The county school superintendent said that the school system would finally be able to provide each student with tablets and internet access for add-on instruction.

Charley wondered how the tablets would be received since few parents were computer savvy. It seemed to him that parents, as well as students, would need computer training.

Charley began to think of his own situation. Ever since the pandemic, more and more college degree programs were offered online. Could Charley take advantage of this option and maintain what he had started with the children who could use his help?

Then Charley’s thoughts returned to the previous evening. He began to write down questions that he needed to think about.

  • How can all students get the extra help they need, especially those in the early grades?
  • How can parents be brought up to speed on what their children are capable of learning from their tablets?
  • What can be done to ensure that the local workforce is prepared for what employers need?
  • How can the success of the cross-country team translate to success for all high school age students, athletes or not?
  • What can be done to increase adult literacy in the county?

As Charley looked over his questions, he realized that they could be summarized in one overall question: How can we establish the joy of learning in everyone in the county?

For Charley, the pursuit of the answer to this question would become the purpose of his life. As Mark Twain would say, he found his WHY.

It was an unexpected contact with a former classmate that would push the first domino in creating a true learning community.

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“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” – Sarah Caldwell (opera conductor)

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