Officials take business of schools to the people

By Matthew Stolle

For a third straight day, Rochester school officials could be found manning an information booth at a local business, handing out pencils, talking to families and seeking to build a sense of excitement about the coming school year.

Officials were at Wal-Mart South on Wednesday, the last day of a "Celebrate Learning" campaign aimed at engaging families and bringing the business of the public schools to the people.

Information booths were set up earlier in the campaign at the Apache Mall, Target and Wal-Mart North. School begins Sept. 3.


"We wanted to communicate to the public some of the things that are happening in the public schools. And secondly, we wanted to have listening posts out in the community," said interim superintendent Jerry Williams between rounds of passing out multicolored pencils that bore the inscription, "Celebrate Learning."

During the campaign, the information booths have been manned by cabinet members, school principals and district staff. Visitors could fill out comment cards, ask questions and pick up brochures about district programs.

Williams said the campaign was part of a larger effort to improve communication between the district and the public. The board is also considering a similar strategy of setting up listening posts in the community to hear from the public.

Despite a driving rain on Wednesday that forced officials to take shelter near the district's literacy van (affectionately called Lily), Williams called the "Celebrate Learning" campaign "very worthwhile."

"We always wish we could talk to more people, but the people we've talked to, we've had excellent conversations. We've answered a lot of questions," he said.

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