The community came together this past Saturday to set forth goals and expectations for the future of Brookside Elementary School (School 54). The school intends to follow the lead of another Near Eastside elementary school, Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, and implement a community school model in the coming years. The Community School Model, which effectively furthers the neighborhood’s role and engagement within the school, has been a successful tool for Thomas Gregg. Facilitating community has always been important to near-eastside neighbors, and this model will allow another school in the community to embrace that long history of neighborhood input and support as Brookside looks towards the future.
The Visioning Day, which took place inside the Brookside Elementary gymnasium, began with introductions from administrators of the school, including remarks by Principal Jeremey Baugh. Several community members also had an opportunity to present including Brookside Community Church pastor, David Cederquist, and a Brookside elementary school parent. Teachers also played an important role in the opening remarks, walking the group at-large through the day’s agenda.
Community members, parents, and teachers alike spent three thirty-minute sessions hopping from topic to topic, and discussing the needs of the school community. Topics ranged from Cultural Awareness and Diversity to College and Career Awareness to Transitions from Elementary to Middle School. Conversations around these topics fostered ideas and expectations for what a future Brookside may look like using the Community School Model. At the end of the round-table discussion, the notes and ideas from each table were hung around the school gym, with participants being asked to “vote” with a sticker and co-sign ideas.
The process to create a community school is both long and challenging, but the good folks over at Brookside Elementary School more than proved their willingness to engage and their readiness to begin this necessary work for the betterment of their community. This visioning day was just the start, and we will continue to keep the community updated as Brookside continues this journey.
For more information on the Community School Model: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/community-schools-effective-school-improvement
For more information on Brookside Elementary School: https://myips.org/brookside/