Though school is out for summer, the quality of education in the Stephenville ISD is never far from the community’s mind. That was evident on Tuesday when more than 100 people turned out for a lunchtime education summit at the Virginia Bond auditorium.
SISD Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd and School Board President Ann Calahan gave a brief introduction and outlined what they hoped would occur during the meeting.
“We need your input for this planning process to work. We cannot afford to become complacent and rest on our successes, of which there are many,” Calahan said.
Once the meeting’s purpose was clear, Shannon Burke, facilitator for Cambridge Strategic Planning, discussed topics dealing with education.
Burke discussed several aspects of the global economy and what effects on education these things provided. Changes relating to advancing technology and the constraints of the traditional workday were discussed.
She praised the United States’ educational system for having “unbelievable literacy rates,” but warned that other countries are beginning to compete for jobs once only available to Americans.
Burke also demonstrated many techniques that are in place because of archaic purposes. Things such as the school calendar, which used to revolve around the harvest system of the once agricultural society, or the layout of the school day, which prepared students for work in an industrial field with bells laying out their day, are things that can be looked at to make America’s efforts to educate their population more effective.
“The industrial revolution is over,” Burke said. “If you don’t believe me, look at Detroit.”
Through a series of processes involved in strategic planning, Burke laid out a plan that encourages community members, parents and educators to work together to reorganize their schools to find the most workable option for education.
Near the end of the seminar, audience members were given a chance to voice their concerns about what was happening in the SISD.
Judy Walker, principal at Central Elementary, expressed concern about the viability of her building. Central is over 70 years old and as Walker said, “age is taking its toll.” Walker urged the district to consider building a new facility that would better serve the 400 students at her campus. Other audience members echoed her sentiment. Others expressed a need for a more science-based curriculum, while others voiced concerns about special education and gifted and talented funding.
Whatever their concerns, interested audience members will have the opportunity to serve on action committees for various projects once the strategic planning process is complete.