De Soto About 120 teachers, parents and patrons broke into groups to brainstorm on school-related issues during a public forum Saturday at DeSoto Elementary School.
As groups voiced their concerns, school administrators wrote down the topics on large sheets of paper. Some issues included the feasibility of year-round school or split schedules, overcrowding in the schools, the district's ability to pass a bond issue, parent involvement, and the use of facilities, curriculum and equipment.
Supt. Marilyn Layman said administrators will take the comments into consideration during planning for the district.
Before the brainstorming session, the audience heard from school principals and other administrators. Each presented a synopsis of an issue facing schools. Topics included: education in a global society, quality performance accreditation, outcome based education, the concept that "every child can learn," technology, retraining teachers and school finances.
ROD PETERSEN, associate principal at DeSoto Junior High School, discussed the national education goals set by President Bush and governors across the country during a summit in Virginia.
The six goals are to: bring all children to school ready to learn, raise the graduation rate to 90 percent, demonstrate student competency in all subjects and prepare students to be responsible citizens, productive workers and lifelong learners, make the United States No. 1 in math and science, achieve 100 percent literacy, and ensure drug-free, violence-free schools.
"All these goals will be more difficult to reach if we can't provide our students with a safe, secure place to learn," he said.
HE ENCOURAGED everyone to contact their legislators with concerns about the state's schools.
"But more importantly, take a sincere interest in the education of our children," he said.
Ron Mersch, associate principal at DeSoto High School, said new technology surfaces so quickly that schools can't keep students informed of every new development.
"How do we prepare our kids for the new world?" he asked.
He cited a study that encouraged teachers to continue teaching the basics reading, writing and arithmetic as well as keyboard, concepts of technology, resource management, problem solving, economics of the work place, and applied math and science.
Layman said the district will sponsor other forums in the coming months to educate the public and solicit feedback.
The next meeting will focus on "Growth and Development of Industry and Housing in USD 232" and will be at 7 p.m. March 23 at Woodsonia Elementary School.