Stories by Dream School Supporters
To view the stories and ideas submitted by others, click the image on the left. We'd love to see your story or idea on the list. When you're ready to share it, review the information in the next section and start creating.
Share Your Story with Dream School Readers
What We're Looking For
We want students, parents, educators, school administrators, and all concerned citizens to talk about their own school experiences--good and bad--and their desires for the future of education in America.
Four Story Formats to Choose From
Not all people tell stories the same way, so feel free to write, draw, paint, speak, or video your story. Here's how to share your ideas your way:
- Text: Try to keep your story to around 600-800 words, but remember: quality over quantity. We suggest writing it in another program before pasting it into the comment box below. (Google Docs or Open Office are good free options if you don't have a word processor on your computer.)
- Video: Please make videos no longer than 15 minutes so they can be uploaded onto YouTube or Vimeo. Once you've uploaded your video to one of these sites, please email the URL (web address) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type "Video Story: Your Name" in the subject line, and include your name, byline, and email address in the body of the email.
- Audio: Please make audio files no longer than 15 minutes, and save them as MP3 files. (If you don't have a digital audio recorder on your computer or cell phone, we suggest Audacity for a free sound recording and editing program.) Please email your MP3 as an attachment to email@example.com and type "Audio Story: Your Name" in the subject line, and include your name, byline, and email address in the body of the email.
- Image: Please include no more than 10 images. Each image should be saved as a .JPG file and emailed as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type "Image Story: Your Name" in the subject line, and include your name, byline, and email address in the body of the email.
Tips for Creating a Great Story
- Be specific: Focus on one specific school experience or idea for the future. Which class, grade, or teacher do you most remember, and why? If you could change one thing about your schooling experience, what would it be?
- Use details and examples: The most interesting stories make people feel and think. Do this by describing your ideas and experiences in detail. Use your five senses to make your story come to life.
- Make your point clear: Help readers understand the significance of your story. What should we learn from it? How might your past experiences or your ideas for the future of education help us design Dream Schools?
- Have fun: If you enjoy creating your story, your readers will more likely enjoy it too. To get started, just let yourself go, and write or create whatever you want. Read a written example by the founder of Dream School Commons or view a video example by education reformer, Amelia Terrapin. Then go back and polish up your story, using these tips as a guide.
Four Possible Methods for Telling Your Story
- Experience: Focus on an event, ritual, or relationship from your own schooling experience. Bring it to life for readers. Discuss how your experience relates to school reform. Based on your story, what should change and what should we keep in education?
- Observe: What have you learned about education from observing other people's experiences? You might focus on a student, friend, sibling, your own child, etc., but tell their story from your point of view. What should we learn from them, and how should it shape our future schools?
- Respond: Maybe you've recently read or viewed something related to education--research, popular media, or expert opinion. How do you respond to that text? Your story may agree/disagree with its ideas, focus on how to implement them, or relate to how the ideas would work for a specific group of students.
- Imagine: Think way beyond any schooling experience you've ever had. If you could learn in any environment, what would it look like, sound like, feel like? Who would be there with you? What metaphor might best describe this Dream School you're imagining? A community center? A summer camp? An African safari? Dare to imagine your Dream School, and share it with us.
These are just suggestions for ways your story might be focused. The priority is that you share your voice and help us collect ideas that can reform education in America. You
can make a difference!
How to Share Your Dream School Story or Idea
Sharing your story or idea is easy. The quickest way is to click the fountain pen image above and simply write your story or idea in the Comment box. Start by placing a title on the first line. Skip a line and start writing.
Before you press Submit be sure to provide your name and email address. That information will only be used to contact you with regard to your story, and your email address will not be published unless you choose to include it in the story (not recommended).
At the end of the story, include a "byline," which can be your name, your name and title/position, or even a brief bio. We highly recommend that you include a brief descriptor after your name so we can keep track of the diversity of voices in order to promote populations who haven't been heard from yet. (Example: Julie Drake, 4th Grader; Jose Gonzales, Art Teacher; Catherine Johnson, Business Owner)
If you'd prefer to share ideas in a different format, you can choose to make a video, audio, or image story by following the guidelines above.
The Dream School Publishing Process
An editor will review your story, proofread for errors, and add some formatting before it is published. If any wording changes are required within written stories that could alter the meaning, a copy of the edited story will be sent to you for your approval. We will never publish a modified story without getting approval of the author.
When your story is published, usually within 72 hours, you will receive an email including a link to your story page. Below your story you will see an email button that you can use to notify friends and family. If you have accounts with Facebook, Twitter or Buzz, or you have your own Blogger powered blog, you can share your story on those networks with the click of a button.
If you know a bit about HTML and want to "fancy up" your written story, you can use basic tags like bold, italic and underline. Use them appropriately and don't overuse them. Likewise you can mark subheadings using the <h3> tag, though simply putting the subheading on a line by itself is enough to alert the editor of your intent. If you want to reference a website in your story include the URL in the right-hand form provided within the comment box and mark the text in your story to be linked with square brackets  like these.