By Lauren Williams Staff Writer
April 1, 2014
In a couple of weeks Clinton City Schools will host its second town hall meeting, giving central office and school staff another opportunity to gather with any and all community members to discuss the future of the city school system.
To be held Tuesday, April 15, the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, located at 104 E. John St. in Clinton.
“The whole purpose of the town hall meetings is for us to get out into the community…take our message to them,” said city schools superintendent Stuart Blount on Monday, mentioning that school officials hope to hold two town hall meetings per school year — one in the fall and one in the spring — at different locations each time. “We want to hit different parts of the community and hold our meetings at different places so that people will feel comfortable coming out.”
“Sometimes it’s good to take it away from the school and into the community. For some, a school is foreign territory so by having it at a church or community building people may be more likely to come,” agreed Terrace Miller, assistant superintendent for Student Services and Federal Programs.
Although the agenda for the meeting is still being planned, Blount shared that attendees will likely hear an updated recap of the district’s strategic goals and priorities as well as information concerning the school system’s budget and budgetary process.
“We may also have some preliminary information back from our stakeholder surveys,” he added. “And of course we’ll open the floor up for any questions or comments people might have.”
Clinton City Schools’ first town hall meeting was held last November where Blount stressed that the system’s vision is “to be able to provide for all children who attend Clinton City Schools the highest level of education possible.”
With that vision in mind, Blount shared with attendees that the system had honed in on four main goals — teaching a rigorous, relevant curriculum; employing highly trained, qualified staff; building and maintaining strong communication and partnerships with the community; and creating safe and welcoming learning environments for both students and employees.
During the inaugural meeting’s question and answer time, attendees raised concerns on a variety of issues including state test results, the school system’s dress code, and the current curriculum.
Reflecting on that first meeting, Blount shared Monday that “it went really well,” making him excited about the next one coming up in a couple of weeks.
“I think it was well attended and provided us with great insight into the community and people’s concerns. The feedback we got from that meeting has been a great learning tool for us as we go about structuring things in our system to meet the needs of the community,” he noted.
And that feedback is something that city school officials and staff have been after from the start. Prior to the first town hall meeting, the school chief also touched on how necessary and valuable community feedback is to what the school system does.
“We believe that in order for our school system to move forward we must gain honest and open feedback from those we serve,” said Blount in November, “because involvement from our community is vital for our success as a school system. This town hall format allows us to get in the community and hear from people.”
“It’s just such a good opportunity for folks to come and hear from us and for us to hear from them about their concerns,” said Miller on Monday, mentioning that school officials were “pleasantly surprised” and “very pleased” with the number of people who came out to the first meeting, the majority of whom seemed to be concerned citizens and students’ grandparents. “If we know their concerns, then as we plan, we’re able to keep them in mind.”
“We’re trying to reach out,” she continued, noting that a translator will be present at the April 15th meeting for Spanish-speaking attendees. “And anyone is invited to these meetings. You don’t have to have a child in school.”
For more information or questions about the upcoming town hall meeting, please contact Terrace Miller with Clinton City Schools at 910-592-3132.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.