School district to host two community listening sessions on February 28
By Chad Koenen
Do you have an idea of something that is needed at Henning School? Perhaps you think the school could use another small gym, an auditorium, bigger classrooms, a new entrance to the gym or even a tribute to your favorite teacher near the entrance of the school. Regardless of the idea, the Henning School District and school board members want to hear from you.
The Henning School District is engaging in two listening sessions for the general public on Monday, Feb. 28 to gather input from the public about what it would like to see at the school for the next generation of Hornets.
A virtual listening session will be held at 12 p.m. on Feb. 28 and another one will be held in the school gym later that night at 5:30 p.m. Anyone can attend the meetings, even if a person does not live in the school district or have a child who attends the school.
The idea for the listening sessions and seeking community input came after the school district received additional ESSERS III money due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the grant money, the district could complete a variety of projects that could create a more safe learning experience at the school. Among the items the money could be used for includes indoor air quality projects, like replacing the aging HVAC system at Henning School.
Rather than just jump into replacing the HVAC system, for example, the school board opted to take a big picture approach at the school and see what other projects are needed, both now and in the future. That way the district could make sure it is getting its best bang for its buck, rather than completing a project now, only to have to replace what was already done down the road when a bigger project came about.
“Throughout each listening session, our goal remains the same—to gather as much information as possible from our district residents to develop a plan that will best meet the needs of our students, staff and communities.”Sparks in a letter to district residents
The listening sessions, which will also include separate sessions for staff members and non-profit organizations, will give the school district and representatives from ICS the opportunity to gage what is needed and could help the student experience at the school.
In addition to the community, staff members and non-profit organization listening sessions, Sparks is also giving current students a chance to weigh in on what they would like to see at the school. Sparks said she is looking for a group of students to get involved in the listening sessions, in order to give the school district a wide variety of opinions for the next generation of Henning Hornets.
“I want a really diverse group of students. I want to give every student an opportunity to say I want to be involved,” said Sparks.
Sparks said ICS representatives have already toured the Henning School to identify potential upgrades and repairs that will be needed in the future. They looked at everything from tuck pointing to HVAC needs and even potentially replacing the high school gym floor. In order to get input on what the community would like to see in its school building, the listening sessions are being organized on Feb. 28.
For more information on how to attend the Zoom listening session, or those who do not have access to a computer or internet and would like to attend the noon meeting, can contact the school at (218) 583-2927. More information can also be found on the school website at www.henning.k12.mn.us or on the district’s Facebook page.