CUYAHOGA FALLS: More than 600 people accepted an invitation from the Falls school district to come for a free spaghetti dinner Tuesday and stay to hear answers to questions about the future of education.
Superintendent and Chief Executive Todd Nichols and members of the district’s Plan for the 21st Century (PT21) Committee — educators, board members, high school students, community leaders and business owners — organized the event at Cuyahoga Falls High School.
Nichols said he wants at least 51 percent of the community engaged in the district’s planning.
“That’s why you’re here,” he told the audience.
Nichols pointed out what visitor Jackie Schumacher and others who toured some of the classrooms already knew: Not much of the school has changed in the past 50 years.
Schumacher and her daughter, Alicia Fairhurst, attended “to see what’s going on.”
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer joined others to watch a short film on changes in education throughout history. She was impressed with the turnout.
“Anytime you can fill a cafeteria with interested parents, it’s a good thing,” she said.
In the auditorium after the tour, Nichols showed an eight-minute film about the growing pace of technology. Falls schools need to catch up, he said.
“We’re a good school,” Nichols said, “but shift must happen.”
He asked everyone with a wireless device to take it out and text the answer to the question, “What will schools look like 10, 20 and 50 years into the future?”
He then asked participants to give their thoughts on PT21’s four focus areas by answering three questions on each, including, “Would you support building a new grade 7 to 12 campus on the Bolich/ Newberry property?” and “How can our schools do a better job of providing a safe and secure learning environment for all students?”
People who did not attend Tuesday’s event can participate online. Go to www.cfalls.summit.k12.oh.us. The questions are listed under PT21 Community Engagement.
As visitors left the auditorium, the answers to the first question appeared on the screen.
Many people wrote that the future will bring more high-tech classrooms. Some wondered how schools will pay for the necessary technology.
“It will look more high tech,” one answer read. “And no, we are not prepared.”