Focused parent dialogue is meant to invite a more representative parent voice in the decision-making process and not keep people out. Because of its importance, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) administration is hosting a Focused Dialogue Night on Monday, December 2 at 6 p.m. in the East Chapel Hill High Commons, where select representatives from each school's School Improvement Teams (SIT), PTA and the school community will have focused dialogues on the pilot topic, "Enrollment Levels at Glenwood Elementary School." These parent dialogues add another layer to the conversation and a way to improve communications with parents and the community.
This particular topic generated significant input from parents at the November 7, 2013 Board of Education meeting and is not slated to come back to the Board until January. The December 2 focused dialogues should provide sufficient time for the administration to combine the input from this session with other available information in order to make a recommendation to the Board of Education.
In order to keep the dialogue focused, the PTA Council suggested to keep the number of representatives selected from each school small, with at least one representative from the SIT and one from the PTA. Depending on the issue, a faculty representative may also be included, with other parent representatives selected from the general school community. All parents and community members are welcome to observe and there will be an opportunity for those who are not at the discussion tables to share their input electronically.
The goals, vision and strategies of the new CHCCS Long Range Plan are rooted in a set of guiding principles which were crafted after significant input from staff, parents, the community and students. One of those principles reads, “We believe in a culture that promotes collaboration, civility, mutual trust and community partnerships.”
Focused dialogues are in support of that belief and help to engage parents in meaningful conversations on important issues that impact CHCCS schools. The district's intent is to provide parent representatives with accurate information about current initiatives.
“The focused dialogue model has been used in other school districts with tremendous success,” said Superintendent Tom Forcella. “Parents and community members have an opportunity to discuss issues in greater depth and collaborate on recommendations.”
After this first CHCCS focused dialogue, the district plans to hold more throughout the Long Range Plan that runs through 2018. Parents can still utilize all the existing communication avenues such as email and public comment to voice their opinion.
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