Shenandoah schools to increase transparency in community

By Josette Keelor

As part of its efforts to adopt more transparency and open communication with the community this year, Shenandoah County Public Schools has announced its participation in November’s American Education Week.

At its most recent School Board meeting on Sept. 11, Superintendent Jeremy Raley explained the plans as an opportunity to see first hand the successes of the county’s schools and challenges still to face.

“That’s traditionally a week where we get to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of all our employees and talk about the good things that are taking place in our school divisions,” he told the board, “so our initiatives for American Education Week are two-fold this year.”

American Education Week will begin on Nov. 17.

In a Sept. 16 invitation to community leaders, government officials, town mayors and state legislators, he explained his interest in allowing the community into Shenandoah’s schools. He also planned to invite United States senators and representatives.

“Transparency and open communication with our community is a priority for us and is reflected in our School Board’s goals,” he wrote in the letter.

To the board, he reminded that November is also Take Your Legislature to School Month and explained that in the past, the school system requested visitors devote an entire school day to visiting at schools.

That will not be the case this year. Instead, visitors will be welcome to tour schools, interact with students and learn more about public education in Shenandoah County for as much time as they can devote.

“When you see the great things that are taking place in your schools, it’s a lot more meaningful,” he explained.

Additionally, the board discussed offering community outreach meetings at each school campus throughout the school year.

The first three School Board Q&A meetings are scheduled for Nov. 6 at the northern campus in Strasburg, Nov. 10 at the campus in Woodstock and Nov. 12 at the southern campus in Quicksburg. Three more meetings will be scheduled for the spring.

The meetings, he explained in a phone interview this week, are “an opportunity just to have a conversation with our community on their perspectives on public education.”

Contact Tracy Landes at 540-459-6702 or at tllandes@shenandoah.k12.va.us to schedule a time to visit at area schools during American Education Week.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com