TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The first three in a series of community meetings regarding Vigo County Schools was Thursday night but few parents or concerned citizens showed up.
The attendance sheet at the Davis Park Elementary School meeting had two names on it. There were more scribes there than parents or other concerned community members.
Oct. 23 (DeVaney Elementary, Sugar Creek Consolidated Elementary and Farrington Grove Elementary)
Oct. 25 (Fayette Elementary, Ben Franklin Elementary and Fuqua Elementary)
Oct. 29 (Hoosier Prairie Elementary, Lost Creek Elementary and Meadows Elementary)
Nov. 6 (Ouabache (Wabash) Elementary, Riley Elementary and Rio Grande Elementary)
Nov. 13 (Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and West Vigo High)
Nov. 15 (Otter Creek Middle School, Honey Creek Middle, Sarah Scott Middle and Woodrow Wilson Middle)
School officials say attendance was about the same at the Deming Elementary School meeting.
The attendance was slightly better at Dixie Bee Elementary School.
One woman who did come out says this is the perfect time to get involved because there is a new school superintendent. She says she feels sorry for the people who did not think this was important enough to show up.
Dr. Muriel Ryan says, "Clearly an option, an opportunity was put out there for them to be able to speak their mind and then they don't show up... it's really hard to feel sorry for someone who says well, I don't like this about the school or I don't like that about the school, and then you discover that they've not participated in this process."
School leaders say they want everyone to feel like they can talk about important issues. That’s why the moderator and note-takers at each meeting actually work at other schools in the district.
Director of Student Services Tom Balitewicz says, “
We wanted to bring in neutral parties into the school to ask the questions we need to ask to get, hopefully, more honest answers."
The moderator at each meeting asked six questions:
What are positive aspects of our school corporation?
Identify areas for improvements in our school corporation.
How cans the VCSC support all students with excellent learning opportunities both during and outside the school day?
What are the biggest concerns with any upcoming building projects?
How can the district and our schools improve communication and better connect with families and the larger community?
Is there another important consideration that has not been identified?
The answers were noted and will be processed to find common themes.
School leaders and others say they hope attendance improves next week.
Ryan says, "I know I've been heard because there were people here that care enough."