District seeks close quarters for questions, conversation
* Worthington schools' series of Community Conversations
continues Tuesday, Feb. 1.
By PAMELA WILLIS
Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
6:24 PM EST
Worthington City School District Superintendent Melissa
Conrath is visiting homes, libraries and other venues this
year to talk to residents in a more casual setting than a
boardroom or a large public forum.
Conrath said she has attended six Community Conversations so
far in small groups and homes, but recently scheduled a few
conversations in larger venues to reach more members of the
"We know that many people may be interested in meeting and
discussing school issues but might not know the people who
invited us to meet in their home or with their group," she
said. "If people do want to meet, we want to find locations
where they would be comfortable asking questions and giving
us their opinion on school issues."
Conrath and Treasurer Jeff McCuen met with community members
at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Old Worthington Library.
They will meet again at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the
library, 820 High St.; 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Northwest
Public Library, 2280 Hard Road; and 7 p.m. March 1 at
Lazelle Woods Community Center, 8140 Sancus Blvd.
Conrath said she begins the conversation by sharing some of
the areas the district is focusing on this year.
"I talk about issues we are facing as a school district and
Jeff talks briefly about the financial perspective, so that
people can understand our challenges and the priorities of
this school year," she said. "We try to keep this brief, at
only 10-15 minutes, so that the rest of the time is an
opportunity to have a casual conversation or ask questions,
or for clarification of a school issue."
Conrath said the goal of the gatherings is to help people to
better understand school district issues.
"We want to help people understand what we are working on,
but our largest priority is to give people an opportunity to
engage in a conversation about school district challenges in
a more intimate setting," she said. "I think when you have a
large community forum or other large setting, such as a
state of schools message, people don't feel quite as
comfortable asking questions."
Conrath said she wants to keep a line of communication open
between school leaders, parents and community members.
"'We hope people will join us and learn more about our
challenges and achievements and also share their thoughts on
our schools," she said.