ST. DAVID — Originally planned as a “Pastries for Parents” informal gathering Thursday has now morphed into a community forum at the School District Multipurpose Center.
The forum is in direct response to a specific social media post and which quickly garnered a share of responses. But rather than engage a discussion over social media, St. David Schools Superintendent Arleen Kennedy said the district’s multipurpose center, which was already to hold a gathering, would provide the perfect and more appropriate venue to discuss educational concerns.
“We already had planned the beginning of the year Pastries for Parents, so we decided to add the forum,” said Kennedy.
The forum begins at 5:30 p.m.
“... At this forum, we can discuss your school opening concerns and the ways in which you will support us returning to the status of being the number 1 District in the County, if not the state. That has always been my goal,” stated Kennedy, in her response posted to the district’s website and facebook page. It continues, “... My one dismay in the reading of the post is the idea that my team and I are affording concerned individuals an opportunity to share and have always had an open door policy for these issues, yet the district has not been afforded the opportunity for the conversation to occur before individuals took ‘us’ to the court of public opinion. Please join us at the forum to address your concerns and allow us to share what we continue to strive for,” she said.
Kennedy said she and the school administration welcome the opportunity for continued dialogue with the community.
“We’re always looking for community input,” she said. “This community wanted more options for students.”
“... Allow us to show how the new schedule has kids in Science class, distributing air through the use of chemical reactions or actively engaged in meteorology activities; how the Advanced Placement classes are already working at top level and have engaged insightful and educated responses from the students; how new lines of communication have been established and how new systems are in place so as to specifically address communication issues. The teachers and staff members at St. David are already working full steam ahead and in only ten days into a great start, it is important that they know how great it is that they are striving to make us the best. It is so unfortunate that the first real discussion on social media had to be negative in tone.”
Kennedy also praised what she termed as a dedicated team of professional instructors and support staff in her response post.
“... To the faculty and staff at St. David; to the community programs that support us, I applaud your school opening efforts and love each of you for your hard work and dedication. We cannot be deterred in immediately seeing negative responses, because you are working hard, above and beyond and I applaud you and respect each of you daily. Let’s continue to be the best, to do our best and bask in our success, even if it has to be alone.”
The district has undergone changes for this new school year, most notably a 90-minute block schedule at the middle and high school levels. Students attend four, 90-minute classes daily, alternating between the first four and second four. For example, students attend the first four class block on Mondays and Wednesdays and the second block on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The block schedule format is just another means to allow students to succeed, said Kennedy, adding the district staff and student size — there are about 375 students enrolled in the K-12 district.