By Anita Bailey
Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools have officially been a part of our NNECERAPPA membership for some time, but that has not always been the case. At one time, Institutional Memberships, with the right to vote and hold office, were only open to higher ed institutions- colleges and universities. In contrast, our current chapter board has two of its six members representing K-12’s.
The movement to include K-12 schools actually started at the APPA level. An APPA K-12 task force, hosted by Milliken Carpet, was established at the Montreal APPA annual meeting around 1997. The committee, which included Emeritus member Don Briselden, then from Phillips Exeter Academy, met over a period of several years and developed a series of recommendations that they reported back to APPA in 2000. The recommendations included a series of steps (publicity, networking, visibility) to bring K-12 schools into the APPA organization. From those recommendations came the decision to permit full membership for K-12 schools. Follow-up actions included an effort to eliminate the word “higher” from APPA’s descriptives.
ERAPPA soon followed suit. Then came the decision by our chapter to be inclusive. For those of us who had been involved with the chapter as K-12’s, this was a very important step. Private secondary schools such as Phillips Exeter, where I work, with campuses similar to college campuses, seemed like a natural fit. But as an organization that offers educational and networking opportunities, it only made sense to encourage those representing all K-12 schools to join and take advantage of the many opportunities for affordable training- often in one’s own back yard. Several of our members from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which include Tim Pedrotty, Jonathan Brush, and Joe Stone, stepped up to advocate for membership from the public sector, and continue to encourage participation. Today, over sixty K-12 schools and affiliated groups are listed in our chapter membership.
Host institutions are encouraged to provide educational programs at the spring and fall chapter conferences, and to reach out to local schools to attend. We as an organization are open to feedback on how we can better serve all of our members. When the quality of an organization such as ours is tied in to the diversity of its membership, we can all benefit.