GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. District 51 school board members held the first community meeting of its kind in Grand Junction Saturday.
About 50 people packed a room at Main Street Bagels for an informal meeting with no agenda or restrictions on what people could bring up to school board members.
"There is no formal list of what we're talking about," said Greg Mikolai, Distrcit 51 school board president. "It's what people want to talk about when they come to these. That's the purpose of it. People can bring up what they think is important for students and for schools here in District 51."
Teachers expressed concerns about a variety of topics including student and parent accountability, discipline protocol and how to help students struggling with academics.
Mary Myers, an Orchard Mesa Middle School language arts special education teacher, shared her viewpoint on how the district is preparing students for PARCC, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, the new standardized tests that will be distributed next year.
"How can we prepare students for a new test with new skills needed with no change in our curriculum?" Myers said. "If they would do that work for us, it would take that load off of us. We want it. We want to prepare our students for this new test."
Mikolai said taking a second look at matching school curriculum with the new test is going right onto the school board's future agenda.
"We need to make sure that curriculum is aligned so that we can meet those expectations, so I think that's going to be one of those top ones that we have to go to," he said.
The informal meetings will be held at least once a month for all members of the community to bring questions and concerns straight to school board members.
"As a way to connect with the community on a more informal basis, to gather information in a relaxed setting where people might feel a little better about speaking freely and voicing their concerns and coming up with ideas," Mikolai said.
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