'Picture Rockwood' Community Workshops Start Next Week
VIDEO: How many parents and patrons will plug into this new program designed to develop a plan for the future of the Rockwood School District?
Rockwood School District administrators and Board of Education directors are launching a new community engagement process designed to collect various concepts and feedback about the district's future priorities. A series of workshops will enable public participation in what organizers deem a creative but structured manner. The project is called "Picture Rockwood."
According to the program's description, as sessions progress, a variety of “pictures” or conditions and circumstances of what Rockwood might look like in the future will be presented. Participants will be asked to evaluate those pictures, determine their preferred picture and suggest improvements to the picture.
The goal of the effort is to narrow the "pictures" into a cohesive vision.
At the most recent Rockwood Board of Education meeting held Thursday evening, one of Picture Rockwood's four facilitators and school community chairs, Eureka resident Park Plank, provided a program update. "The facilitating team has been focused on how the workshops can be best run smoothly, fairly and effectively," he said.
Plank said he and other facilitating team members reviewed the workshop calendars and timelines again, and added more meetings for themselves inbetween the scheduled public workshops so they could make overall adjustments depending on public feedback.
Plank said while reservations are not being required for the series of workshops, a good number of people have signed up for next week's kickoff sessions.
Rockwood's Chief Communications Officer Kim Cranston confirmed about 180 people are expected for next week, based on online commitments received, with approximately 80 percent of respondents indicating they will attend the evening session versus the complementary morning session.
Plank said for each workshop scheduled, participants can attend the morning or the evening delivery of that workshop, with the idea stemming from providing flexibility for various people's schedules. But, the series of workshops are designed to build on another, so those who attend all of them will have a better understanding of the process—as opposed to someone who only could attend one session.
All of the scheduled sessions will be held at the Rockwood Administrative Annex in Eureka.
Rockwood board director Sherri Rogers said Thursday night all of the district's directors unanimously support this Picture Rockwood process. New directors Rogers and Bill Brown are serving as the board's liaisons to the program's facilitating team. "It's a community-driven process that will identify future critical needs for our students. Parents and patrons will help define priorities, with difficult decisions having to be made," Rogers said.
"It's truly citizen-driven."
Rogers told Plank at the board meeting she applauds the dedication and time devoted from the four school community chairs and rest of the team members.
Picture Rockwood's four school community chairs were established to represent the education level "feeding patterns" within the district's four quadrants. Plank represents Eureka High School, while Jennifer Thomas represents Lafayette High School. Rockwood Summit High School is being represented by Chris Hageman, and Marquette High School is represented by Shemain Kenney.
Not every Rockwood resident feels included in the process, though, as expressed in a letter to the editor published on Patch Thursday: Rockwood District Leaders Are Not Listening, Says Watchdog Coalition. However, Rockwood board director Bill Brown said Thursday evening that Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions proactively was asked for potential participants for the facilitating team. "RS for RS suggested four candidates. They were all fine candidates, and two were selected for the facilitating team," said Brown.
Plank said at the end of the workshop series, all of the resulting "pictures" and feedback will be assembled into a presentation and "taken onto the road for a blitz," giving Rockwood districtwide residents one more chance to plug into the process and react to the recommendations.