Archived Story

Community forum generates feedback

Published 9:06pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Around 40 community leaders, business owners and Niles area residents got a crash course in all that Niles Community Schools has been doing this past year during a community forum Tuesday at Westside Administration Building.

Supt. Richard Weigel said the invitation-only community forum is something new he hopes to continue in the future.

During the forum, administrators spoke briefly about different buildings within the district and some of the programs happening within those buildings. For instance, New Tech Director Jerry Holtgren talked about the New Tech program, while Zech Hoyt, assistant principal at Howard-Ellis Elementary, spoke about what is going on at Howard-Ellis.

After each presentation, a question was posed to the audience. The audience — working in small groups — discussed the question and offered answers, which were read aloud to the entire room.

One question asked was: What can the district do to better inform the public about things that are happening within the district?

One group said the district could better spread the word by using social media sites, such as Facebook. Another group said improving internal communication within the district would lead to better external communication. Another person suggested improving the district’s website.

The audience was also asked how the district could improve its traditional high school to better prepare students for post-secondary work.

One group suggested bringing college to the high school by exposing students to college-style textbooks, expectations and workload. Another group suggested having first-year college students speak to current high school students.

The audience was also asked what the district could do to improve the reputation of Niles New Tech.

A group suggested the district should share more quantifiable data, such as test results, with the public. It was also suggested parents and students should complete entrance and exit surveys.

Weigel said he and the administrative staff would discuss and follow up on the ideas generated during the forum.

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