As school districts are being asked to do more with less, Chadron Public Schools is undertaking a new strategic planning effort, seeking community input on several issues to aid in the district’s two to five year planning.

A community-wide rollout of the district’s strategic planning outreach will include a screening of a new film by Nebraska Loves Public Schools that features the Chadron, Omaha and Schuyler districts.

“Seeds of Hope” will be screened Sept. 27 at noon at the Chadron State College Student Center Ballroom. The film focuses on English language learning programs in the three districts. Chadron’s work with a blossoming Marshallese population is highlighted.

There are four themes around which the district is starting its process:

*What is particularly satisfying to you about Chadron Public Schools? What is concerning?

*What value does CPS bring to the community?

*How might the district increase its collaboration in the community?

*Given the declining approval of schools in the media, what’s your hunch about what is producing that?

As you consider those issues, be sure to take a step back and think about where education in this country began. According to Jamie Robert Vollmer, Massachusetts Puritans established schools in 1640 to teach basic reading, some writing and math and to cultiviate values important in a democratic society. Last week, I reviewed the additions to the education curriculum and responsibilities through the first 30 years of the 1900s. The list of responsibilities has only continued to grow. For example:

In the 1940s, school districts added business education, art, music, speech, drama, half-day kindergarten and school lunch programs.

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Science and math education was expanded, and safety and driver’s education courses added in the 1950s. Expanded music and art opportunities and stronger foreign language requirements were also implemented, as was sex education.

By the time the 1960s decade was over, schools were dealing with advanced placement, Head Start, Title I, adult and consumer education (think purchasing resources, rights and responsibilities) and career education (think occupational options and entry level skill requirements).

Over the next few weeks before the rollout, I’ll take a look at what else has been added to our public schools’ list of responsibilities here.

In addition to the Sept. 27 rollout, the district wants to present to other groups and organizations. Any group that would like the district to visit one of its regular meetings should contact the central office at 432-0700.

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