Copy of SJ "Education Summit"

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A local faith-based organization is asking the community to help it make suggestions for improved education at Springfield schools.

A free education summit will be held Saturday, Feb. 25, at Union Baptist Church, 1405 E. Monroe St. It’s being sponsored by the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, a non-profit that addresses social justice issues and fosters community involvement.

“Our whole focus is, ‘How can people within the community — parents and community members and teachers — how can we work together to really change the way that some things are done so that all students can achieve academically?” said Shelly Heideman, the group’s executive director.

The next step, she said, will be to ask Springfield School Superintendent Walter Milton and other district officials to help the group carry out plans for improvement.

The summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., and will include a free breakfast, lunch and care for children ages 3 to 10. It follows a listening campaign in July and a rally in August, Heideman said.

During the listening campaign, the coalition solicited concerns from parents, teachers and other community members.

The greatest concerns expressed included communication between parents and schools; truancy and dropout rates; youth having a voice in their academic achievement; and available resources.

The coalition sponsored a rally in August that featured guest speaker John Jackson, who served on President Barack Obama’s Educaiton Policy Transition Work Group. Jackson spoke about the need for parents to become more involved in the community.

“He also cast a vision about how these issues aren’t unique to Springfield, but they’re issues that public schools all across the U.S. are dealing with,” Heideman said.

Rhys Saunders can be reached at 788-1539.

Want to go?

What:  Free education summit sponsored by Faith Coalition for the Common Good

When: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  Saturday, Feb. 25

Where: Union Baptist Church, 1405 E. Monroe St.

Includes: Breakfast, lunch and child care for ages 3 to 10 years

How to register: Go to


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