Secret Weapons to Save Schools? Community, Creativity, Collaboration…Oh, and Cookies

Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m. at Cuddy Hall

“How can talented members of this community help improve the education of our children?” asked Piñon Pines realtor and educator Michi Knight on April 16. She intends to find out.

“We are going to hold a fun and social brainstorm for all people interested in sharing creative ideas. You don’t have to be parents. We’d like to see artists, musicians, teachers, gardeners, business people, principals, athletes, mechanics, parents, hobbyists, administrators, craftspeople, librarians and trustees…. Oh, and if you have a special dessert you’d like to share, bring it along.”

Rekindling optimism and excellence in our public schools is the focus of a community brainstorm and dessert social to be held in Cuddy Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. The public is invited to participate.

“There are a lot of people in the community who are ready to step up and help make positive changes,” Knight said in explaining plans for May 3.

The link between a strong local real estate market, strong local businesses and strong schools led the Mountain Communities Chamber of Commerce to co-host the May 3 event.

Knight’s Piñon Pines neighbor Kelly Franti said she’s heard of many people, from grant writers to college professors, who volunteered to assist the El Tejon Unified School District in the past, but whose offers were not put to use.

“No one needs grant writers more than this district,” Franti said. She volunteered to help at the middle school two years ago, but was told “we don’t need more volunteers,” Franti recalls. She believes that times have changed.

“Let’s ask people to try again. We really need their talents in this district,” Franti said.

Michi Knight asks that those who wish to help come to the May 3 rally to join the brainstorm. “We hope educators will be there to meet with the community too.

Classified employee union president Angela Witham agreed it will be valuable to call together a community brainstorm: “It is absolutely important for people to come together. I believe when you are talking, and telling how you feel, that can lead someone else to take part of your idea and something they are thinking to try to come up with new solutions. I understand why that cannot happen at a board meeting. People have good ideas and need to share their thoughts. It is important.”

In addition to the May 3 Community Brainstorm hosted by community members, there will also be about three town hall meetings, coordinated by ETUSD personnel, according to a comment made by Superintendent Katie Kleier to Pine Mountain Learning Center parents on Tuesday, April 17. Kleier did not confirm the statement or the dates, times or locations before press time.

One of those is likely to be on Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at Cuddy Hall. Breaking News alerts about other dates will be placed at as soon as they are available.

This is part of the April 20, 2012 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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