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Community forum held for GJSD

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education conducted a community forum Tuesday night at Johnstown High School on a future “vision” for the district and will continue to be soliciting public input until Oct. 18.

“It was the same type of format that the administrators and the board members went through at the [recent] retreat,” board President Christopher Tallon said Wednesday.

Tallon said those attending from the public were broken into groups and were asked to provide their input on questions related to a vision for the Johnstown school system. The questions are also online in the form of a community survey at the district website — johnstownschools.org.

Questions included: What is your affiliation with the Greater Johnstown School District?; What sets Johnstown apart from other schools?; What attributes do we want Johnstown to be known for?; What do you think should be reflected in our vision statement?; What do we need to do differently to achieve our vision?

Michele Kelley, a BOCES communications specialist, issued a news release Wednesday related to the event. The release indicated that the district continues to invite Johnstown district residents to “participate in the district’s ongoing process to define a vision for how Johnstown will prepare students for their futures.”

Residents are invited to share their ideas through the community survey, which is not only available online, but on paper at any school or district office through Oct. 18.

District Interim Superintendent Karen Geelan stated in the release: “An important starting point to all our work is to formulate a common vision for our schools. Our planning, decisions, and budget will be aligned to our vision.”

During Tuesday night’s community forum, Geelan provided participants with context for a discussion around the same questions included on the survey. Her presentation included data about the changing workforce in Fulton County, New York state, and the United States, pointing out sectors experiencing growth and sectors where the workforce is shrinking.

“The world is changing so rapidly that we need to look ahead at the labor force our graduates will be entering five, 10, 15 years from now,” Geelan said. “What will they need to know and be able to do in order to be successful?”

The interim superintendent said that the end products for the work being done by residents, district employees, students and board members will be a vision statement for the district, mission statements for each school, and goals aligned to the district’s vision.

The release said Geelan will present work completed to date during the board’s next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Johnstown High School. She said she expects board members will review and accept a vision statement during the Nov. 7 board meeting, and school mission statements will be presented during the Dec. 5 board meeting.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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