Published DateTo the editor,
How many of us have sat at large school district meetings and had an opinion to share, but were not prepared to speak in such a large public forum? How many of us would have preferred to actually sit down, neighbor to neighbor to talk about the issue at hand, rather than in such a large venue as the high school gym?
The Winnisquam School Board is providing a unique opportunity for the citizens of the district to participate in a thoughtful, deliberative conversation about the future of our kindergarten program.
Last year, full day kindergarten was voted down by the citizens of the Winnisquam School District by a very small margin. Later, I learned that there was a group convened to review what potential options there were regarding kindergarten. Several options were discussed but ultimately, the school board wanted their decision to be informed by a broad range of citizen voices.
We are not talking about some conspiracy by the school board as some would have you believe.
The people who will be facilitating are trained to encourage conversation and different points of view, ensuring all participants have an opportunity to voice their opinions — and importantly, the neutral facilitators do not come with a particular outcome in mind. The model of NH Listens has been used successfully with school districts in other communities such as Pittsfield and Portsmouth. I believe in the process and I believe that this event will serve the district well.
It comes down to the question "Are you willing to have a conversation with your neighbors about this important issue?" I encourage all citizens of the Winnisquam School District to participate in this community conversation on Wednesday, January 23 (6:00 p.m.) and do so with an open mind. I look forward to seeing you there.