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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

K-12 school Task force formed

As part of President Raynard Kington’s push to change the face of education in Grinnell, he has established a K-12 task force dedicated to cementing a partnership between Grinnell College and the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District. The collaboration was announced via a news release published on Friday, Feb. 13 which also explained the purpose and team behind the new proposal. Members of the task force met together for the first time at Grinnell House on Monday afternoon to review plans for the partnership.

Abby Copeman Petig ’01, a member of the new task force who was appointed to a year-long half-time position as coordinator of the partnership, explained in an email to The S&B that the group was created to bridge gaps between the College and the public schools in the Grinnell community.

“The purpose of the task force is to collaboratively develop a comprehensive plan for the ongoing relationship between the College and the [Grinnell-Newburg] School District by exploring additional opportunities for partnership and engagement,” Copeman Petig wrote.

Copeman Petig graduated from Grinnell High School in 1997 and from Grinnell College in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is working on finishing up her Ph.D. in human development and family studies at Iowa State University, according to the news release.

She explained that the new collaboration is intended to provide many opportunities for community input, although the task force meetings will be private.

“Teachers at each building will be invited to brainstorming/information-gathering sessions to discuss their thoughts on opportunities for improvement and better supporting student success. Administrators will have separate sessions, with a similar goal,” Copeman Petig wrote. “We envision a parallel session on campus, where students, faculty, and staff converse about the ways in which they would like to be engaged with the public schools.”

Copeman Petig mentioned that the task force has drawn representatives from many groups from the College, the School District, and several members who represent affiliations with both. She added that the final list of task force members will be made available shortly.

Kington established the task force and has been meeting monthly with Grinnell-Newburg Superintendent Todd Abrahamson to explore new ideas for how the college and school district can collaborate to support school innovation and excellence.

Although task force meetings are not open to the public, there will be many opportunities for teachers, parents and other community members to provide input, Copeman Petig said.

“Information-gathering sessions will be held for teachers and staff at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. School administrators also will be invited to share their ideas at a similar session,” she wrote.

Copeman Petig stated that the current timeline for the task force’s work will be beginning promptly.

“The timeline for the work is brief as we will be submitting recommendations to the President by the end of the spring; however, the task force members are aware of this and are eager to get started,” she said.

Those who are interested in contributing their ideas and suggestions to the task force can email the group at [schoolstaskforce].

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