Thursday, May 23, 2024

Family & School Time Capsule Project, 5-23-24

  1. In every grade, Pre-K through 12th grade graduation, in every school, every year, each student receives letters from each of their parents, grandparents, and/or other relatives, writing about their dreams for that student, and including in each letter a family story from the writer's life.
  2. After the student immediately reads each letter, or has it read to them by each letter writer starting in Pre-K, and has a chance to speak with the writer about the letter and information shared, all received letters are placed inside one self-addressed envelope prepared by the parent for the child, with the current date on the envelope. 
  3. A parent is always free to send only copies of the original letters to school. They can always keep these valuable originals in safe keeping in their homes.
  4. A class day is scheduled to bring these self-addressed envelopes to school. They are collected by the grade’s Time Capsule Postmaster Volunteer and stored in the School Time Capsule Vault until the next year. This 700-pound vault is in a high traffic area visible to the most students possible every day, usually in the school lobby.
  5. Letters are returned to students by the Postmaster Volunteer just before the next year's letter writing starts. The year-old letters are all read again to or by the student, preparing for another cycle of letter writing. The year-old envelope goes home to be safely stored while new letters are written to go back into the vault in a new self-addressed envelope.  This annual letter writing process continues through the second grade.
  6. Starting in the 3rd grade there are 3 changes:  A) Instead of the school asking for the letters to be written to students, students themselves begin writing annual letters to each parent, grandparent, or other close relative, asking for a letter back about their new dreams for them and with another family history story.   B) Students prepare their own self-addressed envelope in a class period dedicated to the Time Capsule Project.  The envelope, with the current date on the envelope, holds all letters received that year.  C) Students then write a letter to themselves with their own thoughts about the letters received, and their own dreams for their own future. This letter also goes into the self-addressed envelope. The envelope is sealed and stored in the school's Time Capsule Vault by the Postmaster volunteer. 
  7. This new cycle is repeated annually until 12th grade. The year-old envelopes are always returned to students by the grade’s Postmaster Volunteer to be re-read and taken home just before the next year’s letter writing process starts.
  8. In the 12th grade the dreams everyone writes about change to be dreams for the student 10-years into their future. These 12th grade envelopes remain in the school's Time Capsule Vault until the first 10-year high school class reunion. Imagine how the turnout for the first 10-year high school reunion will grow!
  9. With roots and goals constantly being explored every year in such letter writing, students become more focused and motivated, more bonded with parents, grandparents, and involved relatives, and more self-confident, more well behaved. School achievement increases as students focus more actively on their own life goals. Unplanned pregnancies, fighting, and the attraction of gangs, all decrease!
  10.                 Teachers enjoy teaching again!

More details about running this project, and the record of achievement under this project, can be found in the second and third posting found at www.dallasisd.us.

Bill Betzen, LMSW (Emeritus), Retired Teacher, Family & School Time Capsule Postmaster Volunteer bbetzen@aol.com, or text to 214-957-9739, Dallas, Texas