Columbia Public Schools will seek public input on student achievement at World Cafe

As reported in the Missourian.

COLUMBIA – Columbia residents will be able to weigh in Wednesday on topics related to achievement, enrichment and opportunities for students at a World Cafe. 

Columbia Public Schools has used World Cafes for several years as a way to engage the public in discussions and strategic planning,  said Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for Columbia Public Schools.

"We have some very specific strategic goals and challenges," Baumstark said. "And we need the community to be involved in helping us determine the next steps and priorities for the district."

Wednesday's World Cafe will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Activity and Recreational Center on Ash Street. Baumstark said participants will be divided into small groups of six to seven people for discussions.

Alhough there will be Board of Education members, faculty and staff present, Baumstark said the focus is on engaging community members.

Members from the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence will also be in attendance, seeking feedback on recommendations they have for the School District, she said.

Before the cafe starts, there will be a special demonstration of the myOn eBook and Audiobook database at 6 p.m., Baumstark said. The Columbia myOn program is called Columbia Reads, and it provides free access to more than 4,500 digital books to children ranging from infants to 5-year-olds. 

"MyOn reader started here a couple of years ago, but we’re working on expanding the reach in the community," Baumstark said. "We’ll be talking about how it works, what it does and asking for help in sharing information to parents of children birth to 5."

Columbia residents interested in attending the World Cafe can reserve a spot until Wednesday morning, Baumstark said, by contacting the Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Department at 214-3960.