Classes to help invitees ‘Explore D51’

School District 51 will launch an invite-only suite of classes this year designed to teach community members how the district operates.

The district invited 45 people to join the classes, which will begin Sept. 13 and run once a month through May. Sixteen people responded that they will attend as of the response deadline of Aug. 27, according to District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee.

McGee said the district invited parents and community members to join the nine, two-hour “Explore D51” classes based on who had shown an interest in learning more about the district, either by calling or e-mailing the district with questions during the 2012-13 budget planning process, unsuccessfully applying to join the budget advisory committee, or joining groups inside or outside the district, such as the Save Our Students community group.

Similar to Mesa County’s “Inside Mesa County” class and the Grand Junction Police Department’s “Citizens Public Safety Academy,” “Explore D51” will have district employees and Friends of District 51 members John Williams and Duke Wortmann explain over several sessions how various aspects of the district operate. McGee said she wants people to view the meetings as a time to have “an engaged discussion,” not just sit and listen. But she told the District 51 School Board Tuesday at a board meeting the sessions also are not designed for people to “come and yell at us.”

“This is a way to reach out to the community in a meaningful way,” McGee said. “We want it to be interactive.”

Although the initial invitation phase is over, McGee said anyone interested in joining the 2013-14 “Explore D51” classes can contact her or Jenn Hensel Hildebrandt, coordinator of the District 51 Foundation, which is sponsoring the classes. McGee said anyone interested in joining the classes on short notice can request a spot in this year’s program but may not be guaranteed a spot.


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