Community Conversation Continues at Callanan

A discussion underway at the Community Conversation at Callanan Middle School.

A small but inquisitive group of a couple dozen people gathered in the Callanan Middle School cafeteria for the third in a series of five “Community Conversations” geared toward the review and possible revision of the “Graduate Ends” – or the expectations for students when they finish high school – the district adopted five years ago.

The fourth meeting is tonight at Hiatt Middle School and the final one is slated for Thursday night at Harding Middle School. Both begin at 5:30 PM.

The town hall sessions are in addition to a survey the district conducted via both direct mail and Infinite Campus of parents, students, staff and the public as part of “The Great Conversation” with the community that kicked off in January when noted education author Jamie Vollmer spoke in a crowded Boardroom at Central Campus.

As was the case in 2007 when the School Board originally solicited community input as to what should be the expectations for a DMPS graduate, this follow up process is being facilitated by State Public Policy Group (SPPG). In addition, each of the town halls has been attended by multiple members of the school board. Last night at Callanan Dick Murphy, Connie Boesen and Bill Howard were present.

One attendee wondered why the community is essentially being asked to assist in the development of educational policy. Shouldn’t that be left to the professionals?

“Because these are the public schools,” Murphy responded. “You all are footing the bill so you should have a say in setting the objectives.”

The conversation was wide-ranging, from one person’s feeling that the Ends are too nebulous to another’s objection to a specific word in one of them. There was one suggestion that they focus more on equipping graduates with practical skills like personal budgeting, another that language be added in the area of social interactions, and another to focus more on good citizenship.

A final report on the surveys and the Community Conversation input will be presented to the Board and available to the public in early June.

The meetings are designed to last about 90 minutes. And like any good class, they are discussions, not lectures.

To view the current Graduate Ends, click here.

Published on