Giving families, educators and the community a say in the future of their public schools was the purpose of two Town Hall meetings hosted by the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board.
The Town Hall meetings, one at the School Board office and one at West St. John Elementary, were among of several steps being taken to gather input as the district reimagines its vision and crafts its five-year plan. Earlier, Superintendent Kevin George conducted a Listening Tour with teachers across the district to get their thoughts. Members of the central office administrative team also met with Ed Solutions, the company assisting the district in crafting the plan, to offer their input.
“After 20 years of serving the communities, I’m finally able to say that this system is at a point where we’re engaging the community to assist in guiding the direction of public education,” said Board Vice President Patrick Sanders, who participated in both Town Hall meetings. “I’ve seen many companies come in to assist, but finally an opportunity has been offered to actually listen to the public’s concerns. Many questions were asked and ideas were formulated to help the board members steer new conversations.”
During the Town Hall meetings board members were asked their thoughts on the state of the district and how they see themselves as board members, the audience was able to submit questions to be posed to the board and the night wrapped up with the audience being able to discuss issues and ask questions directly to board members. Topics covered included curriculum, parental involvement, the shortage of certified teachers and how the community can become more involved.
“We were given an opportunity to hear the concerns of parents and business people about the state of public education within the parish. Our focus was primarily on understanding the vision of the district and assuring that all stakeholders embrace the district’s vision and mission,” Sanders said. “We’re treading in different territory with hopes of steering in a different direction that promotes a better learning environment for all of our students.”