Coffee with superintendent events let Clark, Champaign residents connect with schools

Feb. 18—Some local school districts are hosting coffee events for community members to meet with superintendents and other administrators.

Greenon Local School District Superintendent Darrin Knapke and Treasurer Garth Whitaker started "Community Coffees" at the end of last year, hosting the first one in November and the second this month.

"We feel it is important for the community to hear successes and challenges facing the district. It also gives community members a chance to voice their concerns and ask questions as we continue to learn and grow together," Knapke said.

The next community coffee events are scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Fridays, April 21 and June 9, at the Board Office, 120 S. Xenia St. in Enon.

The district also holds "Coffee Chats" on opposite months of the "Community Coffee" events for school staff only.

"The district wants to hear directly from staff at all levels and give them an opportunity to engage, ask questions and voice concerns," Knapke said.

Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools is another district that is hosting "a Cup of Conversation" events, which started this month.

"The (events were created to share) information with the community and to provide an opportunity for community members to meet the superintendent and ask questions about things related to the district," said Superintendent Danielle Prohaska.

The next event will be held toward the end of this school year at a local business, Burg Nutrition. The district plans to host these events at least three times next year, including one at the school during parent teacher conference night to accommodate working families.

Prohaska said she wants parents and community members to feel they can approach her with questions and have face-to-face discussions.

"The district wants parents and community members to know about the great things we are doing for students, and we want them to be informed about upcoming projects, new programs, and student successes. We are blessed to have strong community support, and this is one way for us to show the community what their support allows us to do as a district," she said.

Although some districts don't hold community coffee events, they still get information out to families in other ways.

Tecumseh Local Schools has a community engagement committee that develops the district's communication plan, which details goals and strategies to deliver information. These include the district's website, app, Facebook page, mail, e-newsletters and blogs.

At Triad Local Schools, they make short posts on Facebook and through email to make sure families get all of the information they need.