Correction: The version of this story published in Tuesday's edition of the Havre Daily News incorrectly listed the time of Thursday's meeting with Jamie Vollmer.
One of Havre Public Schools’ biggest goals in recent months is to engage community residents and involve them in the districts’ activities. This week the district is bringing in some help.
On Thursday at 6 p.m., in the Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building ballroom, the district will welcome Iowa-based school reform advocate Jamie Vollmer to meet with school officials and community members to talk about what they can do for each other.
Vollmer said he has watched as, over the last 15 years, communities have shifted several responsibilities onto local school districts, adding more and more to the traditional role of providing children with the knowledge and skills necessary to function as adults.
“Now the contract pretty clearly says, ‘raise our kids. ’ Schools just can’t do that by themselves, ” Vollmer said.
“I wish I were smarter, that I could think of some 10-point plan to accomplish everything that needs to be done, but what I have done is try to build a conversation, a growing positive conversation, between the schools and the community. ”
Havre Superintendent Andy Carlson and many of the board of trustees saw Vollmer in March, when he spoke about the state of education to the Legislature.
Lawmakers were impressed.
“The way he presents his message and the items he’s working at fit in well with what we believe as a district, ” Carlson said. “If we don’t engage our community, our schools can’t be successful. It’s easy to look and say our parents are our school community, but we forget that everyone in town is a stakeholder in Havre Public Schools. ”
Carlson would like as many people as can make it to come, listen and join the conversation. Food and refreshments will be provided, if having a strong interest in the schools is not enough incentive.
For Vollmer, most people’s interest in their local school system is not strong enough.
“Everybody’s quality of life in the 21st century is directly tied to the quality of the school, whether they have kids or not. ”