Dallemand Hosts "Community Conversation"

1:37 PM, Apr 26, 2011   |    comments
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More than 100 parents, teachers, and students spoke to Bibb County School Superintendent Romain Dallemand Monday night during the first of six public forums referred to as "Community Conversations."

For more than an hour and a half, people passed around the mic and asked questions of their new superintendent.

During that time Dallemand took notes and listened, but did not respond. 

Shantrice Morris is the parent of a student at Howard Middle School, and she says she was thrilled to hear about the event.

"It's just so wonderful. And once I got the email that he was going, I was like 'oh yes, this is what we need!'"

She told Dallemand about her frustration when trying to help her daughter with math homework.

The math is tricky enough for the college grad she says, but it's the lack of a take-home textbook that frustrates her.

"I would like more help with helping her learn math," says Morris.

After listening to all of the parents' questions and concerns, she says she hopes Dallemand walked away with a bigger message.

"I hope that he heard we want to be involved, we don't want the board just running the schools," says Morris. "We're not just parents that send our kids somewhere for six or seven hours."

Many of the evening's questions focused on funding for the arts and athletic programs, urging Dallemand to keep them off the budget chopping block. 

Other parents praised Dallemand for his transparency and communication, lauding him for his regular blogging.

Howard High School Sophomore Danielle Lasker was the only student to speak. She asked Dallemand if he plans to hire more college prep-counselors.

"I just don't feel our counselors are able to give us all the information that we need," said Lasker from the back of the auditorium. "I don't think it's because they're lazy... but it's because they just have too much work to do."

The vice president of Howard's art club also told her superintendent about teachers using their own money to purchase supplies for pottery classes.

"Basically people are just ready for change that they've been promised before and just haven't gotten," says Lasker. "We definitely need more funding and to be better managed."

Dallemand says he has lots of work to do, but is encouraged by the community's participation.

He says all of the input from parents is a sign that the district is on the right track.

Dallemand didn't answer the questions during Monday night's forum. He says some of them he'll respond to in his blog.

Others, he says, will be addressed as part of his "strategic plan," for the district, which Bibb County Schools spokesman Chris Floore says Dallemand intends to unveil in September.

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