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Listening to the community, RCS holds “Future Forum”

group of forum participants talk around a table

Parents, students, community members, local business and political leaders and district staff, all came together for the “Future Forum” in February to discuss how to prepare the next generation of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk students for the workplace and the world.

District leaders want to continue the conversation, focused on priorities for preparing RCS students for the global community, as the district begins the process of developing a long-term strategic plan. Leaders anticipate RCS and districts across the state will face fiscal challenges this year and in future years.

“The district has to invest wisely and consider how to best use our time, staff and resources,” Superintendent Brian Bailey said to forum participants. “These three things combine to make meaningful programs for our students.”

There were three focus topics at the forum: student engagement, future readiness and community partnerships. Each group spoke about these three topics as note-takers carefully annotated participants’ thoughts. Members of the leadership team then synthesized that information and wrote down the various ideas on large poster paper. After the group conversations ended, participants were asked to review the ideas that were generated and to prioritize the three areas that they believe would best ensure student success at RCS.

Based on that feedback, here are the opportunities for growth our school and district community members believed to be most important:

  • Developing systems that allow for mentoring
  • Involving students in the world at large; such as, community service, service-learning, teach tolerance
  • Promoting student ownership over their own learning
  • Understanding the needs of all learners and capitalize on their skills/interests
  • Establishing a survey that highlights individual student’s interests and skills; using this information to create pathways for community involvement
  • Building long-lasting, meaningful, and mutually beneficial relationships between the school and community
  • Encouraging kids to think beyond the classroom and consider community impact
  • Promoting volunteer work, valuing the community and develop a community service curriculum
  • Expanding mentoring and job sharing programs including broadening potential internships
  • Teaching and reinforcing resiliency, allowing students to learn through failure
  • Encouraging students to develop a personal vision for their place in the world, supporting them by teaching life skills and goal setting

District leaders will now work with staff and community members to work on ways to incorporate these ideas at RCS. They hope to continue open conversations with the public as they move forward in creating the strategic plan.