Marysville community education forum set for April 17

MARYSVILLE — A second community forum on local education is set for April 17, and event organizer Jim Strickland is eager to take the conversation to the next level.

“In our previous session, we asked, ‘What kind of people do we want our children to become?’” Strickland said. “This next session will ask, ‘What kinds experiences and opportunities are necessary to develop these attributes?’”

As the Western region coordinator for the League of Democratic Schools, one of Strickland’s goals is to develop ongoing, sustainable mechanisms for deepening the community’s understanding of and engagement in the purpose of schools.

“Open, inclusive, and ongoing conversation is the very foundation of a healthy democracy,” Strickland said. “As soon as we stop talking, democracy begins to die.”

On Feb. 27, the first forum of nearly 20 parents, teachers, school district staff and elected officials, and surrounding community members met at the Shoultes Fire Station. According to Strickland, they concluded that they wanted their children to grow up to become people with strong senses of individual identity and commitments to integrity, who will be able to think critically and creatively and will understand the value of relationships.

“From here, we need to ask ourselves what role our schools can play, in helping our children become these people,” Strickland said. “This is not a critique of the Marysville schools, and it’s not a one-time response to a crisis. We need to be asking ourselves foundational questions on a continual basis to maintain our vitality.”

Although Strickland would be interested in compiling the feedback from these meetings into a series of reports eventually, he believes that the dialogue itself can make a difference, by impacting the thinking of community members and helping them realize their priorities.

“These are just ripples right now, but who knows what form they might take?” Strickland asked.

The April 17 community forum will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Shoultes Fire Station.

For more information, call Strickland at 425-870-1631.

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