WacoRoundTable.org open for organization profiles

A new data platform is rolling out for use across Greater Waco. It’s called WacoRoundTable.org.

WacoRoundTable.org houses over 100 quantitative indicators about our community that will help nonprofits, businesses, governmental entities, and other organizations understand better the statistical reality of Greater Waco across a variety of interest areas and geographies. 

Nonprofits, businesses, governmental entities, and other organizations are now able to go to the site and share basic information in order to help other groups and individuals to know about them and what they do.

For instance, already in this early stage, a person can go to the site looking for information about health organizations and see several in the city of Waco. That will expand as more organizations add their profile information. But it’s not just for the city of Waco; it is for the broader McLennan County community.

There is no cost to adding your organization profile. This is a free service to organizations provided by Prosper Waco, with support from the City of Waco.

It’s easy to add your organizational profile.

You might first view a couple of existing profiles to see the type of information that can be shared. For instance, here is the profile for Act Locally Waco. And here is the one for Grassroots Community Development. And, the one for Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

To set up a profile, an acknowledged representative of a nonprofit, business, governmental entity, or other organization will go to WacoRoundTable.org and click the button below “Create a Profile.”

You will then be prompted for your email address and to create a password.

Once you have logged in, you will see a page with four tabs at the top — Dashboard, Organization Profile, Manage Programs, and Users. 

Click on Organization Profile and there will be a form to input the different information, some are required but not all. You can save each item as you go or at the end.

At the end, click submit.

Prosper Waco staff reviews all submissions and, if everything is in order, shares them publicly. 

Once you have completed the basic profile information, you can sign back in and add more detailed information on your organization’s varied programs. For instance, Act Locally Waco has a program called Waco Walks; check it out.

The profiles and programs help groups and individuals connect with needed organizations, but more is coming to the site. 

For more information or for help completing a program, contact Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

‘McLennan Together’ will lead MCC into the fall

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, McLennan Community College is diligently planning for what will be a different kind of semester this fall. 

This new initiative, #McLennanTogether, focuses on opening MCC safely and efficiently this fall. MCC is using a phased approach in returning to campus based on federal, state, and local guidelines regarding public health. Leaders hope to have all employees back on campus on Aug. 3, with some flexibility. 

Courses that would normally use face-to-face instruction have become “blended” courses – a combination of both in-person and online instruction. The in-person format will use safety measures like face coverings, social distancing, and disinfectants. Online instruction includes secure lessons through videoconferencing software, including Zoom, and utilization of the learning management system, Brightspace, where students and teachers may interact and submit assignments. 

How does that look practically? 

Classes that meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for example, could include class meetings on Tuesdays and virtual sessions on Thursdays. This gives students the advantages of a physical classroom – direct access to professors and classmates – and the online classroom, which allows for flexibility, technological capabilities, and slowing the spread of COVID-19. Again, face coverings are vital to the success of this system and having students in classrooms. 

If the number of local cases of COVID-19 continues to increase at a dangerous rate, the college is preparing to again convert all courses to purely online formats. Communications with professors will be especially important this semester and even more so if courses must go completely online. 

Here are a few tips for success in blended courses:

  • Create a routine. Scheduling days around school and work can bring a sense of normalcy. Marking due dates, meetings, and other obligations can be done in your email account, phone calendar, or physical calendar. Sometimes, the easy step of jotting down a reminder is the difference between staying ahead or falling behind in a course. 
  • Use available resources. In her frequent communications, MCC President Johnette McKown has encouraged students to take advantage of the many resources available to them. Success coaches, Paulanne’s Pantry, the Counseling Center, the MCC Foundation, the Financial Aid office, and the library provide unique resources that students may access. 
  • Have a communication plan. Keeping in touch with professors and classmates in different formats will be pivotal this semester. Ask questions of professors and classmates through email and Brightspace and check student email account frequently for campus communications. 
  • Take breaks! These are difficult, unprecedented times for us all. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some deep breaths, go for a walk, call a friend or family member, or read a book for fun. 

One success story from the spring, after the abrupt conversion to online courses, came from Jamaal Greene, the assistant men’s basketball coach and a weightlifting instructor at MCC. He said the transition wasn’t always easy, but it was rewarding. The format of an interactive course like weightlifting benefits from in-person motivation. 

“What I like about those classes, and the students said the same thing – I did every workout with them,” Greene said. “When they were tired, I was tired. When they wanted to quit, I was able to push. When they went through misery, I went through misery with them, so that helped.” 

In place of that, he refamiliarized himself with Brightspace, and students completed new at-home workouts with little or no equipment. Greene said students measured heart rates and relayed their thoughts on each exercise. Creative solutions, with the guidance of MCC’s Center for Teaching and Learning, have been instrumental in completing work during these difficult times. 

Faculty and staff members were “comforting my anxieties of doing this, and they helped tremendously,” he said.  

Phillip Ericksen is marketing and communications specialist at McLennan Community College. For about four years, he was a journalist at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering higher education and local government. He enjoys following the news, reading books and drinking coffee. As a San Antonio native, he is an avid fan of Mexican food and the Spurs basketball team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University.  He can be reached at pericksen@mclennan.edu.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.orgfor more information.

Join the Waco Safe Campaign — businesses & visitors

By Strategic Communications Workgroup

As Waco begins to reopen attractions and businesses, and tourism starts to return to the area, it is important to the community that we keep both our citizens and our visitors safe. The incidence of COVID-19 has increased over the last few weeks, and we all want to do our part to slow the spread.  

The Waco Safe Campaign is a two-way pledge. 
Waco business owners are committed to keeping residents and visitors as safe as possible by implementing safety practices to limit the spread of COVID-19. We also respectfully ask our visitors to do their part by following recommendations and best practices for travelers.

This pledge is based on what we know now, and that may change.  We will continue to stay informed of the latest information and adjust policies and procedures to keep our employees and patrons as safe as possible.

Take the Pledge: Sign up to take the pledge at mclennancountycovid.com.

Post to Social Media: Once you sign up, you will receive a toolkit that includes social media templates available for your use.

Display your Waco Safe Badge: The toolkit includes a printable badge. We will also hand deliver a sticker badge for you to display in your window.