GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Roaring Fork School District is set to launch a series of meetings next week aimed at creating a long-term vision that will guide the district’s schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt for the next several years.
The effort seeks to engage everyone from local business and civic leaders to students, parents, teachers and school administrators in the discussion about how best to improve student success in the local public schools.
Kicking off the process was a day-long Roaring Fork District school board planning retreat in Carbondale on Wednesday that laid the groundwork for the board and district officials to turn their ear to the broader community.
“The goal here is to identify what our families’ hopes and dreams are for education in our valley,” said school board president Matthew Hamilton following the Wednesday retreat in Carbondale.
“We have a phenomenal team of teachers and administrative staff assembled in our district, but those individuals can’t be successful if they don’t understand where they’re headed,” Hamilton said.
That direction should come from the public, parents, the teachers and the students themselves, he said.
Beginning next Wednesday, Sept. 25, and continuing through Oct. 10, the district will host a series of meetings in each of the three communities served by Roaring Fork Re-1 to gather that input.
Daytime session will be targeted specifically for students, business leaders and school district faculty and staff, while a series of evening meetings will be open to the general public. The evening meetings will include food and free childcare for participants (see separate meeting schedule, at left).
“When it comes to the future of our schools, we want to hear what is on everyone’s mind,” said Diana Sirko, superintendent of Roaring Fork Re-1 schools.
“The intent of these community meetings is to provide an open forum for listening to all opinions, providing an opportunity for broad and diverse representation so everyone has a voice in the process,” she said.
The meetings will be facilitated by the nonprofit organization Civic Canopy, which she said has experience in organizing a “ground-up listening process.”
“There will be open-ended questioning intended to draw out the hopes and wants each community has for its schools,” according to a press release explaining the format for the meetings.
A short survey and small-group discussions will also focus on the following questions:
1. What is the purpose of schools in our community?
2. What does it mean to be a well-educated graduate of Roaring Fork schools?
3. What characteristics of a school are most important?
At the end of each week during the process, the district will post a brief summary of the events on its website [www.rfsd.k12.co.us] and via e-mail to those who sign up to receive messages.
“After the three-week intensive sessions are completed, key findings from each community and across the entire district will be shared with the community by Nov. 22, in both English and Spanish,” according to the press release from the district.