In the spring of 2016, the Essex Westford School District Board received a three-year grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation to help engage the community around school matters and ensure that the community, including people who don’t usually have a say, has a voice in important decisions about our education system. A diverse group made up of 24 students, teachers, school administrators, community members, and school board representatives came together during the month of October (2016) to form a Planning Team, with the purpose of identifying a set of engagement goals, topics, and a suggested plan to support the new EWSD in becoming more responsive to the communities that it serves. The Planning Team identified the following goals and topic areas for engagement:
- EWSD will work to build a culture of trust where the voices of school and community members are connected to action.
- The community will help shape the vision for EWSD through ongoing engagement.
- EWSD will provide regular opportunities for everyone (students, parents, school board, school staff and community members) to have a meaningful voice and access to open engagement on issues that matter to them.
A smaller Steering Committee, now known as Voices for Education, emerged and is currently beginning the process of putting the work of the Planning Team into action. The Voices for Education group will work closely with the school board and school leaders.
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