BRATTLEBORO — Marlboro College's Center for Creative Solutions is hosting a two-day community discussion and brainstorming session on the future of public education in Vermont on April 1 and 2.
Prompted by the development and passage of Act 46, the event will focus on community concerns about the issues of "equity" and "excellence." This event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
"We want to promoting a community conversation to grapple with the issues of equity and excellence through an open, facilitated process," said Felicity Ratté, director of the CCS and a professor of art and architectural history at Marlboro College.
On Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m., the center will hold a panel discussion by community members involved in education issues. These include Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Windham-Bennington, Windham Southeast Superintendent Ron Stahley, and Bennington-Rutland Superintendent Dan French. Other panelists include students from Marlboro College and from local high schools.
Friday night's discussion provides an opportunity for audience members to participate through a question and answer session. On Saturday, April 2, the Center will facilitate a workshop focusing on equity and excellence in public education, at the Marlboro College Graduate Center. Day care is available for the Saturday workshop.
"The panel is to help frame the discussion on Saturday, so that participants know what has been happening, how we got to where we are in education and, more broadly, to help us think about the future," said Ratté. "The workshop the following morning is a facilitated visioning process — If our schools were completely equitable, what would it look like, and how would we get there?"
Established in 2007, CCS has primarily focused on community design issues, but Ratté has been trying to expand the center's work to other areas of community development. Since the development and passage of Act 46, Ratté has been attending meetings, listening to community members' concerns, and observing local districts as they react to the changes. She sees this event as an important next step to community engagement.
"The work won't end when people walk out the door," Ratté said. "We're hoping people will be enthusiastic and start thinking in ways they didn't think before. Across the state, school boards are all working on Act 46. At some point, their work has to go from the board to the community and people have to get engaged. And while we're looking at Act 46, what else can we do?"
For more information and to register for the event, visit www.marlboro.edu/community/ccs/convening.