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Center Grove schools seeks public input to shape long-term goals

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Center Grove schools added online courses and purchased iPads for its high school students after hearing what residents wanted from their school district, and now the superintendent wants to hear more of their ideas.

Superintendent Richard Arkanoff wants at least 100 Center Grove parents, business owners, residents and taxpayers to attend two hourlong meetings this school year. At the meetings, the groups will share their opinions about everything from construction projects Center Grove should consider to changes school officials can make in kindergarten through 12th-grade courses to the food served in the cafeteria.

“I want to go into this with a completely open agenda,” Arkanoff said. “Tell me what you’re thinking, and what you want.”

School officials and the strategic planning committee, a second group of nearly 100 Center Grove residents, will use those suggestions to create an updated list of goals for the school district by the end of the school year. These will be goals Center Grove can work to achieve within the next three, five and 10 years, Arkanoff said.

“The purpose of this is to get that input, and to then refine it, to make sure we’re on track with what we’re hearing from the community, or what we think we’re hearing,” Arkanoff said.

This is the second time Arkanoff has reached out to the community to create a list of long-term goals for Center Grove. The first was shortly after he was hired in 2011, which is when he originally reconvened the school district’s strategic planning committee with between 50 and 60 people.

Not all of the original committee’s goals panned out, such as the suggestion to create an early childhood center for preschool through kindergarten students. As Center Grove officials reviewed their options for creating a center, they realized there was no feasible way to transport all of the students to one building.

But other ideas from the committee took off, including providing iPads to all Center Grove High School students and creating online courses, which now have more than 400 students enrolled.

The idea behind forming the two groups, which now has a mix of new and old members, is to create new sets of goals for the school district, Arkanoff and assistant director for curriculum instruction assessment and special education Jack Parker said.

After the first group submits their ideas, the strategic planning committee will meet twice to review the suggestions and create specific goals for Center Grove.

In January, the group of 100 will have a second meeting, where administrators will share what goals they’re considering and get feedback about whether any need to be adjusted.

The strategic planning committee will meet two more times in the spring to review the notes and additional suggestions, and the school district should have its finalized list of goals by the end of the school year, Arkanoff and Parker said.

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