By Leah Williams Wright
Parrish School was a hub of activity hours after school had ended for the day.
About 30 parents, teachers, community members and district personnel gathered in the school’s cafeteria Monday, Sept. 12 for the Family and Community Town Supper, the third such event held this fall by District 95 administrators. A fourth is set for next Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Carbondale Middle School.
Each table was given a list of talking points to get the conversation started.
Among the questions: What are the good things happening in Carbondale Elementary School 95? What challenges do you see the district facing? What can we create together that we cannot create alone?
Then, participants were welcomed to voice their concerns and thoughts in response to these questions. For example, one table mused over marketing tactics to better District 95’s reputation to parents living in other school districts and also to publicize the positive activities the schools are involved in.
The participants also wanted to integrate more technology into the classrooms and find ways to get other parents involved in what is going in the district.
Mike Shimshak, District 95 superintendent, said the special suppers give the community members, parents and District 95 personnel an opportunity to discuss their opinions about improving the school district and bettering its chances for the future.
“I think it is going well,” Shimshak said. “It’s a chance for them to start feeling good and to talk to each other about the future of the school and the district.”
The information gathered from the events will be posted online on the district’s website and shared with the District 95 school board at a future board meeting.
Shimshak said both he and the board plan to use the opinions collected at these dinners as a way to formulate their plans for the current school year.
Having just assumed the role of superintendent this summer, Shimshak said one of the things he has liked most about District 95 is the camaraderie that exists in the community.
“It’s a great chance,” he said. “There is a great dynamic of people here, and people are looking for answers and are excited to work together.”
Shimshak said there is a chance a similar forum series could be offered in the spring.
“Parents are asking us to have more of these,” he said.
To pre-register for next week’s dinner, call District 95’s administrative office at 457-3591 ext. 2102. Admission is free, although a $5 donation is encouraged.