The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 15, 2013

Milton area group ponders ways to 'build a better school'

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— MILTON — From administrators and teacher to parents and board members, a diverse group of people from the Milton Area School District came together Thursday night to start a discussion about what the district can do to meet its challenges and “Build a Better School.”

The discussion was led by Timothy Lucas, author of “Schools That Learn,” and is part of a five-to-six-month project that Milton Superintendent Cathy Groller said she hopes promotes open discussion.

Lucas agreed, saying Thursday’s session was a start for a discussion that will culminate in a report to district officials.

“This is the beginning point to say how are we doing as a district,” Lucas said.

Between the nearly 20 participants, there were more than 350 years of interaction with the Milton school district, Lucas calculated, bringing together a variety of viewpoints. Lucas had the group brainstorm and discuss challenges the district and its students are facing in the modern educational climate.

Common themes were diversity, legislative reform and safety. Issues of image and school climate were some of the most popular challenges described by the group.

“These are focused on building school culture and saying ‘Who are we in Milton?’” Lucas said.

The group also expressed a desire to make sure that the community and parents remain highly involved in the school district.

“Almost all of us expressed that we want community involvement,” Groller said.

The group’s goal is to create a report based on these identified challenges and their possible solutions to the school board at the conclusion of the inaugural “Build a Better School” program, Groller said. The group will meet once a month, and any stakeholder in the Milton district is invited to attend.

“The climate of public education is changing and forcing us to look in a positive way” at these factors, Groller said.