District Encourages Parent and Community Involvement
Increased levels of parent and community involvement is one of four primary goals of the Plainville Board of Education. While involvement in the school district has historically been a priority at all levels, a number of additional steps have been taken this year to renew the focus on the importance of involvement and encourage support for school district goals.
In October, board members, administrators and staff met with parents to discuss the school district budget process and parent / community involvement. District Business Manager Richard Carmelich provided an overview of the district budget process, and distributed the first in a series of budget newsletters created to disseminate information and expand communication with parents. In addition, parents shared their thoughts and recommendations regarding parent and community involvement, and expanding communication about the district budget. "In these challenging economic times it is increasingly important that the Board expand communication with parents and the community. We are fortunate to have parents who understand how important it is for all of us to work together," explained Plainville Board of Education Chair Becky Tyrrell.
An additional measure taken this year to expand communication about the school district budget process is the development of a budget communication plan. The plan outlines a number of steps identified to enhance communication with parents, community, faculty and staff members regarding the school district budget.
A second parent meeting was held on December 16 to continue the dialogue about parent involvement, funding, the budget process, and communication. Approximately 30 parents, board members, faculty, and staff gathered for a strategic planning session. The session included small group discussion on creating a reader friendly school budget document, "hot topics" in the school district, exploring alternative funding sources, and parent involvement and leadership. The group spent a portion of the meeting reviewing the district budget format and offering suggestions, with a goal of making the 2009-10 budget document as "user friendly" as possible. These and other recommendations generated from the meeting will be explored and incorporated as appropriate. "I am very pleased with the quality of the dialogue and the productive suggestions. We will work toward incorporating many of the ideas generated by the members of the group," said Dr. Kathleen Binkowski, Superintendent of Schools.
"When middle school sports were cut from the budget earlier this year I decided it was time to get involved," commented Plainville parent Lisa Caron. "I know that to just sit back and complain doesn't do any good. I found out that the Board of Education was looking for parents to meet with them to give feedback on certain issues and to improve communication with the community. Some other parents and I have gone to a few meetings and we had some great strategic sessions. The Board listens and asks questions. We are actually part of the process. It would be wonderful to have more parents involved, everyone has something to add. There are many people in Plainville who don't have kids in the school system, especially the senior citizens. It would be great if they would get involved too. This is going to be one of the worst budget seasons ever. We need all the help we can get to make it fair for the community as a whole including the children. They are our future."
The school district will continue to meet with parents and the community going forward to encourage and support this critical collaboration.
-Posted on December 29, 2008 at 12:13 PM
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