We are In4All
Today is my 7th anniversary at this organization. If someone had told me seven years ago that I would have the privilege of serving as the executive director – I would never have believed them. You see, I heard a very specific narrative over my life, spoken by an education leader that I believed. He said I would never amount to anything.
Narratives are powerful, aren’t they? Whether it’s a socially constructed norm that we subscribe to, one that has been modeled for us, or one that has been overtly spoken to us, narratives inform our confidence to challenge an idea and our restrict our ability to see the future that is possible for us.
Many Oregon students have been assigned narratives like this – and it shows. The narrative is evident in 3rd grade classrooms where one-third of students report a disinterest in math and science. It shows up again in 8th grade where less than half of students pass the math standard. And it shows in the 7,600 students that are pushed out of Oregon high schools every year without a plan for the future.
For 34 years, the Business Education Compact has connected industry to classrooms engaging thousands of volunteers, teachers and students. We are still very much about business and education, but the word “Compact” seems limiting now. When used as an adjective “compact” means small. If you visit our elementary and middle school classrooms to witness volunteers delivering our programs, or visit our students at their work experiences, you realize very quickly that this work is anything but small.
You hear volunteers say things like, “this program changed my life”. Teachers remark that the students that struggle most to engage are consistently the leaders in the hands-on projects. You’ll hear students make connections to their future like the young girl who said “I always wanted to be a supermodel but I think being an engineer might be a good back up plan” and the 8th grade boy who commented that the failing forward mindset we use in our middle school program “wasn’t just about math – that’s about real life”.
If you were to visit our multiple sites and program levels in a school year you would begin to see what I see. A community of industry and education professionals that believes the responsibility for student success is shared.
Our model for engaging students across their K-12 experience is still expanding and will continue to evolve but it is anything but ”compact” in its impact. This is why we need a bigger, bolder name that represents the work that we get to do with all of you – for the benefit of all students.
We’re mobilizing community. Participating in changing the narrative of Oregon students. We’re In4All.
Elaine Charpentier-Philippi is the In4All Executive Director