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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Local School Leaders What to Hear from You

Local School Leaders Want to Know What’s Important to You

Submitted by Nancy Hurley

Evansville Community School District officials want to find out what you think is going well at the schools, what areas need improvement, how you envision our schools in the future, and what you think should be the district’s priorities in the face of constricting budgets.
During the month of October school district staff and Board of Education members will lead a series of focus groups to get feedback from the community. The groups will be held at a variety of times and locations in the hopes of making the meetings accessible to everyone. All members of the community – whether you have children in Evansville schools or not – are encouraged to attend and give their input.
Each focus group meeting will last about two hours and will begin with a brief introduction about the current state of our schools. Afterward, those in attendance will divide into smaller groups to discuss three specific topics: the positive and not-so-positive things happening in our schools now, the vision participants have for our schools in the future, and priorities for our school district in the coming years. Results of the discussions will then be shared with the larger group and documented.
Similar focus group discussions have already taken place among school district administrators and staff and the Board of Education. The results of these meetings have been tallied and will be combined with the results of the community focus groups to provide school district staff and board members a complete set of information from all focus groups. These data will then be used to develop concrete goals and plans for each school and for the District as a whole in a process known as Strategic Planning. The final results will be shared with district staff and the community and will be used to guide decision-making in the years to come.
“Strategic Planning provides a framework for the initiatives and decisions the school district needs to make over the next 5-10 years,” said District Administrator Heidi Carvin who is working with the Board of Education and school administrators to spearhead the Strategic Planning process. “Our Strategic Plan will help us make tough budget decisions and allocate time and resources to help our schools move further into the 21st Century.”
School Board President Kathi Swanson emphasized the importance of involving the community in the development of a Strategic Plan.
“It’s essential that the Board knows what community members want our schools to look like, especially in this environment of diminishing funds, “ said Swanson. “And the more people we involve in this process the more good ideas we generate.”
All meetings are open to all parents and community members. Participants are encouraged to attend whatever focus group works best for their schedule. The dates and locations for the District’s Strategic Planning Focus Groups are as follows:

Tuesday, October 11, 6:30 p.m., J. C. McKenna Middle School Cafeteria
Wednesday, October 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Eager Free Public Library (light lunch served)
Wednesday, October 12, 7:00 p.m., Evansville High School, Room C144
Thursday, October 13, 6:30 p.m., Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Library (LMC) (child care provided. Please use entrance at back parking lot facing Fair St.)
Wednesday, October 19, 8:45 a.m., Creekside Place (continental breakfast served)
Wednesday, October 19, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Creekside Place (light lunch served)
Thursday, October 20, 7:00 p.m., J.C. McKenna Middle School Cafeteria

For more information or questions about Focus Group times or locations contact the Evansville Community School District at 608-882-3387 or mosherk@evansville.k12.wi.us.

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