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Wichita Schools’ Superintendent Begins Community Meetings

Abigail Beckman
KMUW/File photo

The superintendent for Wichita Public Schools will be holding seven community meetings through the end of November to gather input for the district’s strategic plan.

The first stop on Superintendent Alicia Thompson’s listening tour will be Tuesday night at Wilbur Middle School in west Wichita.

District spokeswoman Susan Arensman says the superintendent has already held sessions with employees and business leaders, and now it’s the community’s turn.

"What she wants to do is gather feedback from stakeholders," Arensman says. "That feedback of where they want the direction of the district to go will help form a strategic plan."

Arensman says district employees who participated in the staff listening session told the superintendent about how budget cuts have affected their work.

The community meetings will take place in each Board of Education district.

Arensman says the superintendent plans to share summaries of her stakeholder meetings with the district’s Board of Education.

"Her intent is to make sure that we are heading in the right direction, we’re reflecting what our community and our employees are thinking and what’s the best way to go about that so she’s having these listening sessions so that she can move forward," Arensman says.

This is not the first time the Wichita School District has held a listening tour for a new superintendent. Arensman says similar sessions were held the first year former Superintendent John Allison started and then again five years into his tenure.

Allison left USD 259 in June to become superintendent for Olathe Public Schools in northeast Kansas. Thompson began her role as superintendent July 1.

Arensman says the stategic plan is expected to be ready by spring and implemented during the next school year.

Wichita Public Schools community meetings will be held:

  • Oct. 24 Wilbur Middle School
  • Oct. 26 Brooks Middle School
  • Nov. 2 Chester I. Lewis Academy
  • Nov. 14 Pleasant Valley Middle School
  • Nov. 16 Coleman Middle School
  • Nov. 28 Mead Middle School
  • Nov. 30 Hamilton Middle School

The meetings are 6:00-7:30 p.m. Childcare will be available so families can participate.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.


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