Viewpoint: Get involved in your school communityOne of the essential elements of a successful school district is a vibrant and on-going relationship with you, the citizens we serve.
By: Mark Porter, District 833 superintendent, Woodbury Bulletin
One of the essential elements of a successful school district is a vibrant and on-going relationship with you, the citizens we serve. It is our responsibility to not only provide an outstanding education for our students, but to remain closely connected to the communities we serve and the people who make up those communities. Community engagement and effective communication is specifically included as part of our strategic plan – “Focus on the Future.”
Three public meetings will be held in October to keep you informed about the on-going efforts and continuous improvement taking place in the school district and also to hear from you about your ideas and concerns as they relate to the services we provide. Too often, such opportunities are only scheduled when the school district needs something from you (ex. a bond or operating referendum). That is definitely not the purpose of these meetings. It is my desire that the district will hear both the positive things taking place and what may need improvement in order to better serve our students and our community. Through an anonymous audience response system, we hope to learn more about your priorities for the school district. A goal of hosting such events is also to make a personal connection with more of our community members. The events take place: Oct. 6 at Woodbury High School, Oct. 13 at East Ridge High School and Oct. 20 at Park High School. Start time for each is 6:30 p.m.
Public meetings are just one way for you to get involved and be connected to your school district. There are several opportunities on citizen advisory committees available to those who have a passion and an interest in improving various aspects of the school district.
If you are a “numbers” person, there is the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee. This group meets one time each month during the course of the school year to discuss mainly the large scale financial issues being addressed in the school district. They make recommendations that are forwarded to the school board and these have proven to be very helpful in the past couple of years. There is also an opportunity to become involved in the curriculum and learning side of the school district with the curriculum advisory committee. At the district level there are several other advisory groups, including: community education advisory council, early childhood advisory council, community advisory board (through the Office of Equity and Integration) and school communicators.
Some of you may prefer involvement at the building level where the opportunities are even more extensive.
Each building has a site council, many of which include parent representatives, and most buildings have parent/teacher organizations of one type or another. Maybe the easiest way to connect and become involved in the school district is to take part as a member of the audience at one of our outstanding musical or performing arts productions or as a spectator at one of our athletic contests. I am very proud of what our students are doing and I know they look forward to sharing their talents with you. Maybe I’ll see you at an event this week.
Those of you eligible to vote in the upcoming general election on Nov. 3, I urge you to become well informed on the candidates, to attend candidate forums and to vote for the candidates of your choice. It is through this election process that the school district is truly yours. Exercise your right to vote and do so as a knowledgeable and involved resident of the school district.
A highlight to the opening of school this year was the opening of East Ridge High School. We are hosting a community celebration through a Dedication and Open House that is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be tours led by students, a program at 2 p.m. lasting approximately 35 minutes with student performances, and tours of the surrounding complex hosted by the city of Woodbury. Please attend and share in the enthusiasm of this great time in our history.
Mark Porter is the superintendent for the South Washington County District. His “New Beginnings, High Expectations” column appears twice a month.