FDCSD holds final coffee conversation of year

The Fort Dodge Community School District held its third coffee conversation of the school year Wednesday at the district’s Central Administration Office.

Doug Van Zyl, FDCSD superintendent, and Rob Hughes, FDCSD assistant superintendent, were on hand to greet members of the community.

“This is the last one we have scheduled for this year,” Van Zyl said. “We’ll continue to evaluate and take a look at where we are. We’ll get some more planned for next year, and see what other types of ideas or formats we may take a look at, whether it’s time of day or something else.”

Only one person attended. One person, though, is better than none, Van Zyl said.

“I think it’s great that at least one parent showed up,” he said. “I don’t think we have anything to be upset about. We opened it up and gave people an opportunity to come in.”

The district administrators received helpful insights into district curriculum and operations, Van Zyl said.

“She had some comments and some questions, so we gleaned some good information from her,” he said. “That’s really the goal, to give people an opportunity to come in and ask questions or share ideas, or for us to ask them some questions and get some insights so it will help us do a better job of educating students in the district.”

One reason for the low turnout could be scheduling. The meeting was held at noon, though the district’s previous coffee conversations, in October and January, were held early in the morning.

“It could be that people are happy, which is what we hope is the case,” Van Zyl said. “But we’ll continue to have opportunities for people to communicate with us, as well.”

According to Hughes, there are other ways for the community to provide input and participate in the school district.

“We’re always very open to having community be involved in a number of different things,” he said. “We have our Comprehensive School Improvement team. We have a number of committees that meet, and we have conversations about school improvement efforts.”

He added, “Anytime we can get parents and community members involved we greatly appreciate it.”

The experience of having coffee conversations this school year has been a positive one, Hughes said, and hopes to engage more people in the future.

“We would love to get those individuals here to the table to have those conversations,” he said. “The exciting and meaningful part is that those who come have a lot to offer and we can have that conversation. And we aren’t inundated with masses of people having concerns and questions. That, for us, reinforces all of the great, positive things the Fort Dodge schools is doing for and with the community.”