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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?

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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.

From 1900-1910, schools were also expected to handle nutrition, immunization and health activities, and in the next two decades physical education (including organized sports), practical arts (think home economics) and vocational education (industrial and agricultural) were added to the schools’ responibilities. Mandated school transportation also came in 1910-1930.

Over the next few weeks before the Sept. 27 rollout, I’ll take a look at what else has been added to our public schools’ list of responsibilities here.

In addition to the rollout planned for Sept. 27, the district wants to present to other groups and organizations that have regular meeting times in the community, both that day and at other times. Given that a majority of the residents in the district do not have a direct connection with the school, Superintendent Dr. Caroline Winchester said it’s important to meet with as many people as possible and hear their ideas. 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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