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Round II of Sag Harbor Educational Forum

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By Claire Walla

It’s the future of education: round two.

Now that opinions have been voiced and thoughts expressed, the next Education Forum will be held on Wednesday, January 12 at the Sag Harbor Elementary School Gym at 7:30 p.m.

This next step will facilitate small group discussions that revolve around seven main topics gleaned from the information presented at last month’s event.

After processing the public comments, as well as a handful of written and emailed responses, former Pierson principal Bob Schneider and school board president Walter Wilcoxen set-up these seven umbrella topics: Ecology and Wellness; Career and College Preparation; Elementary and Middle School Learners Who Excel; Clarity of Thought, Written and Oral Expression and Reading; Technology; Community, Outreach and Individual Needs; and Rigorous and Real World Curriculum and International Baccalaureate Principals.

Unlike the last Education Forum — where parents, teachers, students and community members spoke without comment or feedback — Schneider said there will be “a lot of give and take this time.”

Those who attend this forum will split up into discussion groups based on what topic they’re most interested in and each group will be led by a facilitator who is knowledgeable of the subject at hand. (Schneider notes, however, that the job of the facilitator is not to lead the conversation, but rather to guide the discussion.)

After about 45 minutes, all audience members will be encouraged to switch groups in order to join different conversations.

“[Forum attendees] will kick around those topics and we hope that they’ll come out of that meeting with an agenda and an action plan,” Schneider said.

“Nobody’s signing on to do research by nature of coming to the forum,” he quickly adds. However, Schneider said he hopes there are people in each discussion group who are willing to do some work.
“The footwork really starts after this next session,” he said