Does a New Era Await Fairview Park Schools?
The 2015-2016 school year has begun and it is off with the anticipated all-out sprint. The school supplies aisles at the Westgate Target have been picked clean; Earthfare and Giant Eagle struggle to keep their popular “kid lunch items” stocked; and Kohl's shoppers are now realizing that they have earned enough Kohl's Cash to fund their next holiday shopping spree.
Yes, our children and parents alike have abandoned summer vacation to begin the process of acclimating to school and after school routines, marking the milestone that school is in session! In addition to the buzzing activity of school life, the strategic planning process of Fairview Park City Schools is also in full swing.
This past June, Fairview residents had the opportunity to participate in a community survey, providing feedback on the perception of our schools and the direction future planning should take. On August 24, Dr. Bill Wagner, Superintendent of Fairview Park City School District, kicked off a successful community forum where he introduced Steve Harris from the People Advantage. Mr. Harris was contracted to help the district in the strategic planning process, including the design of the survey. Mr. Harris relayed the results during this forum. Following the survey, several focus sessions on various topics provided the attending community an opportunity to further articulate on the schools perceived current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats to the ongoing success of the planning process.
In reflecting on recent board decisions (e.g., the initial superintendent selection process and the sale of the Coffinberry School property), I considered several questions. Is the Fairview Park City School system poised to usher in a new era filled with a renewed and heightened sense of connectedness and achievement? Or will we experience controversial decisions that result in ongoing discontent and disappointment? I have no doubt Dr. Wagner and a few members of the board will be diligent in maintaining the district’s fiscal and academic success while working to make our schools a better place to learn and grow.
As we approach the November 3rd election, the voters of Fairview Park will have an opportunity to voice who they feel will best support a vision that better connects the school, community and city. Following the election, the expectation of the three elected board members will be to improve these "partnerships", to actively engage the community in co-deciding difficult decisions, and to better support our inspiring teachers and the behind-the-scene staff who keep the district machine well-oiled and running smooth.
Regardless of your candidate choice, I hope to see another strong showing at the next community forum on Tuesday, September 1, at 7 p.m., at Gilles-Sweet Elementary school. I would also like to see an unprecedented turnout of our 11,295+ registered voters. Making sure our school leaders have the right people and support at the helm will be decided on November 3!
Rabon Allen is a school board candidate in the Fairview Park School District. To view his credentials, visit http://democracy.com/vote4rabonallen.