72° F Monday, June 26, 2017


Dear Editor:

Eanes school board members recently reviewed the final Eanes Community Dialogue report and posted it online. Now, with the report complete, we’d like to offer some insights on the Dialogues’ findings and how they are being used, as well as thoughts on where we go from here.

Briefly, the Dialogues were organized by a Steering Committee of volunteers around four basic goals: (1) identify what Eanes school district community believes schools should do to prepare our students for their future; (2) prioritize those needs; (3) improve communication with district leadership; and (4) develop an infrastructure of volunteers willing to help with implementation.

Across April, a couple of hundred folks met and worked through discussions exploring very broad trends, and very personal concerns. In the end, eight themes emerged generally defining what the community wants (Whats), and how the community proposes to implement the ‘whats’ (Hows).

But one meta-theme echoed. While our community values district’s rigorous academic environment, it wants that in the context of balanced, well-rounded educational experiences. That core belief was expressed in many ways, though perhaps most succinctly by the group suggesting our community would prefer to rebrand STEM (curricula emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as STEAM (inserting Arts and Humanities) to reflect a balance of hard and soft sciences.

Since the Dialogue’s wrapped, district trustees and administrators have been incorporating lessons learned into formal planning materials. A table outlining where the Dialogues’ themes intersect district goals is now online. Equally important, however, is that new means of communication have opened. Consider, for example, how the district is proposing to gather input on its Master Facilities Plan.

So we believe the Steering Committee did what it set out to do. But we’re not done. The Committee will continue discussing ways to improve community engagement, and will reach out to Dialogues participants that expressed interest in this area. Stay tuned.

On behalf of the Steering Committee, we want to thank everyone who participated. Your time, input, and support were invaluable. By engaging, you have helped shape our community and our schools for years to come.

John Havenstrite and Julia Weber
Eanes Community Dialogues Steering Committee

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