Columbia Public Schools seeks community input at World Café event

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | 5:40 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools is asking the community for help in addressing an achievement gap in the district.

The district will host the CPS World Café public forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center, 2601 S. Providence Road.

Participants will split up into small discussion groups of about eight people each to talk about issues related to the achievement and opportunity gap, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

A key issue is a disparity in test scores among different groups of students.

Participants will rotate among groups to discuss topics including how community members can help students achieve from birth to 5 years old, at home, in school, and in the community. 

Once all information from the event is collected, smaller working groups will be formed to begin developing strategies to address issues surrounding the gap and build on effective strategies in place, Baumstark said.

The district will then host another World Café event in the spring to get more input on the community regarding the strategies.

“We can’t do this by ourselves,” Baumstark said. “It’s a larger community issue.”

So far, more than 200 people have registered for the event, she said.

The event is open to the public, but Baumstark asked that anyone planning to come let the district know by contacting either her or her assistant, Molly Delgado, at 573-214-3960. 

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