Targeted community forum

From Stephanie Stuart:

Central High School will hold a Community Forum on April 4, 2013, at the Champaign Library from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Three communities are invited to join the event – Shadow Wood, Douglas, and Bradley & McKinley neighborhoods. Central representatives will discuss various topics with families, specifically attendance.  Transportation will be provided to the library and back to each neighborhood.  Food, babysitting and prizes during the event will be available. A number of community organizations have been invited, including MTD, Parenting with love and limits, Champaign Housing Authority and others to connect Central Families with community resources during the event.


Since I have been involved with other initiatives involving Shadow Wood, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about this one (in fact, I had deleted it and then undeleted it). As I search, I cannot find this announced anywhere else, which is a bit odd. I wonder if perhaps this event was intentionally not announced in the normal fashion because they (Unit 4) wants to focus on specific communities.


However I am announcing it because I think it is an awesome opportunity, and I fully support Unit 4 in this endeavor. IF (and this is a HUGE BIG IF) the intent is for Unit 4 to listen. The skeptical voice inside my head has a few mumblings about “what if Unit 4 administration wants to go in and preach attendance?” Hmm… well, if that is the case, that would be bad. So, I’ll just ask Stephanie and Dr. Wiegand what the expectation is. 🙂 I do find it a little odd that it is being held at the CPL, but I give kudos for the organizers for taking care of transportation, child care, food and even prizes. I like the idea of connecting families with community resources. A lot!


More to follow.

8 Responses to “Targeted community forum”

  1. G. David Frye Says:

    OK, here’s a thought. Maybe this is just about Central High School and some problems they’re having with attendance in specific neighborhoods. Maybe it has nothing to do with Unit 4 as a whole. Maybe it doesn’t need someone second-guessing the intent of the high school’s administration and writing to the district demanding an explanation. Maybe there are times when preaching attendance to the right audience in the right setting is a good thing, and the automatic assumption that it would be bad is misguided, if not self-serving.

    MAYBE (and this is a HUGE BIG MAYBE) you don’t need to be putting a dark cloud in front of every silver lining.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    G. David, I have said that I readily accept differences of opinion so I appreciate that you continue to come back – it is important to me that those who disagree also speak up.

    For me, I am still waiting to hear back from Stephanie Stuart. I can’t really say much more until I know the facts.

  3. pattsi Says:

    Just thinking this through, I have these questions. How is the information about this meeting distributed. But for this blog, as a citizen I know nothing about the meeting. Second, a more convenient meeting place for the targeted audience would be Douglass Center, unless not available. I know from personal experience how hard it is to reserve the rooms at the CPL so this meeting has been planned for some time.

  4. Jackie Says:

    I’m with the first commenter on this one. Not everything is about everybody. Sometimes there is a time and place for targeted communication. The event as described seems like one of these times. I trust that the school personnel involved have a plan and a purpose for this event. It sounds like the intent is to improve attendance, and I support it! Not everything labelled “community forum” needs to fit into one conception of that sort of event. I bet that people for whom this event is intended (families living in Shadow Wood, Bradley & McKinley, & Douglass Park areas who have students at Central) have been informed in multiple ways about this event. Why would those of you who seem to feel irritated or perceive your judgment about the planning of this event to be superior to Unit 4’s feel like communication is “owed” to you when this event isn’t for you? It’s not being kept a secret–but it seems you believe that because there was no advertising or outreach to non-Central parents living in Savoy or central Champaign that somehow efforts were inadequate. Similarly, I am mystified that some believe they know and can speak for others about what they perceive to be convenient or appropriate locations in this situation. I suspect that there are diverse opinions of the families involved about relative convenience of locations. Some families might prefer the library, some might prefer other places–but the library is a reasonable choice, has more and much more convenient parking than Douglass Center, has the added benefit of appropriate furniture and acoustics for this kind of event, and would even allow families to perhaps check out a book, sign up for a library card, or read a story to a younger child while they are there. So–it might be preferred by some families, it might be disliked by others . . .you can’t presume everyone finds the same thing convenient. For sure, there are extremes arrangements that could be certainly agreed upon to be “inconvenient” to a group, but this isn’t one of those.

  5. Karen Says:

    It is about everybody though, isn’t it? At least that’s what we hear a lot of when it comes to issues that ultimately boil down to $. If you play the ‘doesn’t concern you’ card, don’t be surprised when people think twice and then some about forking over more $ for program$, re$ource$, etc. that don’t concern them. Blind trust with this school district? Little reason to justify it, really.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    For the record, I have been to Shadow Wood several times and even helped to organize community meetings in Shadow Wood. I know several folks there. I am familiar with Rev. Dr. Barnes and his ongoing efforts to make a positive impact in that whole area. I am familiar with and know of Will Kyles efforts to bring in resources to the area. So when it comes to opining, I do not speak out of ignorance.

    Perhaps I miscommunicated, but I did try to be positive. *grin* For instance, “However I am announcing it because I think it is an awesome opportunity, and I fully support Unit 4 in this endeavor.” I truly believe that this is an awesome opportunity. I am really, anxiously awaiting to hear how it turns out because I have high hopes that these are effective and meaningful community meetings.

    I am not in the habit of defending myself, but I think there are some key points that bear bringing to the table. Perhaps some of you are already aware of these things.

    I am a huge fan of targeted meetings and/or community forums. I think this is totally awesome! I don’t know how many folks will show up at the CPL, but I do hope a few will take advantage of the offer of transportation. As I said above, I give kudos for the organizers for planning so many incentives to make it easier for those residents to attend.

    At our school, attendance is pushed very hard. Some times it feels like too much to me. It is my understanding that the district in general pushes attendance hard because they receive federal dollars for each head sitting in the classroom. It is my observation that, at least at our school, the push for attendance comes from on high – I do not get the impression the teachers initiated this push, but rather, the district administrators have. I could be totally wrong – I am sharing my perspective. I have basically no experience in the highschools, yet, so I cannot speak to the attendance issue from that point of view. I have some wild-ass guesses, but I’ll save those for private dialogues. *grin*

    Community Resources
    I really really like this concept. This is very ABCD-like. If this goes well, it can totally rock! I am very excited to see how this effort develops.

    I confess to occasionally falling into a trap of wanting to know most everything. I readily admit I do not need to know everything, and in fact, sometimes I become an unnecessarily squeaky wheel. I apologize for that tendency. On the other hand, a few of us have been telling the district administration and the school board they really need to put more emphasis in transparency. I had a whole platform built around this, but the short of it is that we need to foster an environment of trust and collaboration. By practice, the district has struggled with this; not because they are bad people, but more because of the systemic ideologies and codified procedures. And you may wonder how me being a pest and sometimes negative helps build trust and collaboration – good questions; I spend a bit of time talking to individuals privately so they know exactly where I am coming from.
    Additionally, I know from experience that merely passing out flyers (or sending flyers home with children) doesn’t provide the impetus to move Shadow Wood residences to a community forum. Rather, there are two or three influential residents who know a majority of the neighborhood, and the best thing is simply to join them on a door-to-door walk, personally informing and inviting residents. I don’t know if that is the case for Bradley/McKinney and Douglass Park.

    I present this as food for thought, or maybe cannon fodder. We will see. 🙂

  7. Jackie Says:

    I wouldn’t at all say that attendance rate “doesn’t concern me”. It does concern me. A lot. And, I’m glad that the district has analyzed data to determine the locus of one piece of the problem and is attending to it. I’m also glad they aren’t targeting me–as my students’ attendance rates are good. The quality of my students’ education is affected by the attendance rates of others, however, so intervention seems like a good idea.

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