On Monday, Whitney Benefits hosted a conversation on education. Organizers said the event was meant as a way to bring major players to the table and talk about where we are heading and what we can do better.
Yet, rather than invigorating some attendees, including members of The Press, the event left some wanting more.
The evening included many of the same discussions that have happened in boardrooms across the county each month for years.
Each district has capital facility plans in the works for new schools. Each has plans to strengthen their relationship with Sheridan College by allowing for concurrent enrollment, video conferencing classes taught by SC instructors and providing introductory classes for some of the majors in which the college excels.
In addition, each school district indicated plans to continue improving individualized education for area students, dedicate time and resources to teacher training and provide students with the real-world skills they will need in the 21st century.
The efforts of Whitney Benefits to bring together groups of individuals fiercely proud of their students and teachers should be commended. Strong personalities with different ideas are not always easy to manage and the groups are unlikely to agree on every detail on the best path forward. But, it was clear Monday every person in the room believed in the goal of better educational opportunities.
There was little mention, though, of how the local school districts could work together to further student achievement. While it is unlikely that conversation would have been appropriate for such an evening, the event served as a beginning. Each district presented their plans, allowing administrators to begin thinking of ways to partner moving forward.
The most productive partnerships reach beyond those that only provide funding or take on some of the workload. Partnerships need to include the honest discussion of ideas in the works, trials and errors that have occurred in classrooms and joint trainings.
Whitney Benefits created the foundation for what could be very beneficial educational initiatives in Sheridan.
One can only hope leaders in each school district and at the college step up to the challenge.
We want more.