Thousands of Ideas Gathered at Community Forum

The 2.0 Community Forum on Public Education last week brought together hundreds of educators, parents, elected officials and concerned citizens – all focused on improving education and workforce across our county. As the participants exited Bessie Smith Cultural Center after the lively discussions, many asked a single question.

What now?

We’ve since sorted through thousands of sticky notes to compile a list of the themes identified in each area of educational development. The top few emerging topics from each area of interest are highlighted below.

Early Childhood

Top Challenges:
Quality of teaching / curriculum
Family engagement and education
Support for special needs

What’s Working:
Childcare centers that educate
Reading programs
Head Start

Bold Ideas:
Increase parental education
Increase use / effectiveness of curriculum
Expand access to Pre-K


early childhood education themes


Top Challenges:

Lack of career prep
Segregation, concentrated poverty
Special education

What’s Working:
Out-of-school programs
IB/AP courses
Project-based learning

Bold Ideas:
Vocational training and schools
Increased school choice
College counselors, mentorship

K-12 themes

Post-secondary & Workforce Development

Top Challenges:
Early career exposure in K-12
Advisory / mentorship support services
Soft skills development

What’s Working:
CTE and similar programs in K-12
Advisory / mentorship support services
Transition to college support

Bold Ideas:
Early career exposure in K-12
Advisory / mentorship partnerships with industry
Industry internship & support programs


post-secondary themes

The Community Education Forum was a huge success, and we received requests to continue the forum’s goal to gain feedback and insight from even more parents and teachers. The 2.0 team expanded the forum and set up booths at Dalewood Middle School, Tyner Middle School, and East Lake Academy. The schools hosted parents’ events and gathered even more community input.

So what’s next? All the information we’ve gathered is being reviewed, along with other research and community feedback, and will shape a public report released this summer.

Thank you for your continued support. If you were not able to join us for the Community Forum, please give your feedback by taking our community survey.


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