HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Schools is about to end one series of forums and host a different set of community meetings. Each set is aimed at moving the district forward.
The first set of meetings are called School Safety Engagement Forums. Leaders said they are not town hall-style. They welcome all ideas for how to improve safety with four main subjects: Parental Accountability, Government Initiatives, School Security Measures, and Awareness.
The last of these is in District 4 on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at Huntsville High School from 5:30 p.m. -7 p.m.
Christie Finley, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent, said, "We are community schools, but more importantly the parents are really the backbone and foundation of what really makes our students successful and having their input and feedback is critical. We value that."
Finley said that so far, the district has received lots of good ideas: "Things we haven't considered," she described.
Leaders said you can also submit ideas online, using this contact form and they would make sure to get the feedback where it needs to go to be included in the recommendations to the task force.
The next set of meetings are Community Conversations to talk about the district's Strategic Plan. Click here for the dates.
Finley stated that these upcoming meetings will be similar to the engagement forums in style. They will include small groups where parents, teachers, and staff can dig into the issues. She described an intimate setting where everyone can be heard.
"We're really going to look at all the pillars that support our mission and vision," she said. "As we go into the different small groups, we will look through the SWOT [Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities, Threats] analysis when we do a strategic plan."
Finley said turnout has not been large at the last few forums, but it has been appreciated.
"I would love more turnout, but however what's been small turnout the feedback has been enormous and so valuable," she said. She encouraged others to come out to the last forum, and the upcoming Community Conversations.
Finley reiterated that the district will not instate any new policies until the forums are complete and the Student Safety Task Force has given its recommendations. That includes clear backpacks. Originally, the district chose to go that direction and later walked it back until all the input was evaluated.
"We want to wait to make any decisions until we really get feedback from the community," stated the superintendent.
After the forums, the district will consolidate community input. It will then select the members of that task force on November 1.
"The selection of the task force will be presented at the November 1 work session, so everybody will have a clear understanding of what the expectations are and what the application process looks like," Finley said.
The task force will review the community input, present the recommendations to the Board of Education, and then the superintendent will collaborate with the task force on what to implement along the lines of school security and parent accountability to enhance the existing policies.