Community Engagement Council receives grant
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Oct. 7, 2013
The Killingly Community Engagement Council recently announced their selection by the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund to receive a $1,200 grant. The money will fund an educational forum open to members of the Killingly community. The forum will cover a wide range of issues including the roles and responsibilities of parents, schools and the community at large for the education of its children.
KCEC Chair Laurie LeClerc said the purpose of the KCEC is to foster communication between townspeople and the board of education. “We need to understand the problems and issues in the community, and the public needs to understand the issues educators face getting kids educated, successful and productive,” she said.
The council grew out of an advisory committee to the board of education. It was formed more than a year ago. Vice-chair Nelson King said council members hope to increase community involvement in education all year long. “We’re looking at the broad picture,” he said. “This is not an attempt to operate just at budget time.”
Superintendent Kevin Farr said the council will be a vehicle for communication for everyone involved and invested in education in the town. The council’s goal is to provide a forum for residents to bring their issues and concerns to. Immediate concerns can be dealt with quickly because members of the board of education and the superintendent will be present. If the issues are more complex, the council will put the item on its agenda and prepare a public presentation.
Farr said senior level administrators would be asked to make presentations on hot topics brought before the council. “We can do forums, have the meetings at locations that would accommodate 400 people and put it on television,” he said.
King said that open lines of communication and transparency in issues the board of education has to deal with makes it better for the whole community. A recent survey in town showed that there is a disconnect between the community and the education being provided to students, King said. “The community felt that they weren’t being provided the information they needed to make appropriate decisions as far as educational changes,” he said.
The forum has been scheduled for March. Between now and then, King and LeClerc hope to increase community knowledge and involvement in the council’s work. “We’re all stakeholders,” LeClerc said. “Studies show that the community benefits directly from student success. National and state data speak to the fact that for every failed student, the costs to society are huge. Those costs are significantly greater than the cost of educating that child successfully.”
KCEK meetings are open to the public. Their meeting schedule is posted on the town’s website. For more information, call 860-779-6711 or visit the school website at www.killinglyschools.org.