MAUSD seeks input from the community

BRISTOL — As the new school year approaches, the Mount Abraham Unified School District’s Community Engagement Committee (CEC) has begun to shape its fall schedule of community events.
“The purpose of the MAUSD’s fall engagement activities are to make sure community members across the 5-Towns (including residents, parents, students and MAUSD staff) have a meaningful voice in important decisions facing the district,” wrote the CEC in their preliminary Fall 2019 Community Engagement Plan.
Though the schedule will not be finalized until early September, the CEC has proposed an ambitious series of open houses and town-specific community conversations between mid-September and mid-November.
Topics will likely cover the spectrum between broad questions as, “What is our shared vision for the future of education in the 5-Town area?” and more specific ones, such as, “Should facilities options feature repairs, upgrades, school repurposing and/or school closures?”
This autumn’s conversations will be the latest in a series of community outreach projects the CEC began this past fall.
Under the guidance of professional facilitator Sue McCormack, the CEC held a community forum in October 2018, provided a daylong community engagement workshop in March, and conducted interviews and surveys of MAUSD residents and stakeholders last spring.
Two recurring themes in the community feedback so far have been facilities and communication.
Most urgently, the 5-Town community will need to decide how to address major facilities issues at the 50-year-old Mount Abraham Union High School.
Between 2014 and 2018 the MAUSD three times asked 5-Town voters to pass a major renovation bond for the school, but 5-Town voters three times said no. Therefore this fall the district will be looking to engage as large and diverse a portion of the community as possible on this issue.
The MAUSD is tackling communications issues on several fronts, with the school board’s Community Engagement Committee being the most public one.
In addition to that effort, the board this past summer began developing a Board Communications Plan, which it hopes to refine and finalize in the coming weeks or months.
The Independent will provide full coverage of MAUSD community engagement efforts this fall, beginning as soon as the schedule is finalized, and will publish a comprehensive report on the school district’s facilities after touring them later this month.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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