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More inquiries received, answered about Community Education

Residents are becoming aware of our new Community Education program and several have asked me questions about it.

I'm using last week's and this week's column to answer the types of questions I'm most frequently asked.

How can Community Education help community businesses and other organizations?

Community Education will collaborate with community organizations and businesses to help them grow. For example, a financial advising company could offer classes through Community Education, thereby helping residents improve their financial investing and purchasing abilities at the same time as the business gets its name advertised.

Likewise, a private piano instructor could offer to teach classes through Community Education such as "Playing by Ear," and become familiar with class participants for taking private lessons outside of Community Education in the future.

Health fairs, parenting education sessions, arts projects, job-seeking skills, support groups, real estate classes, foreign languages, travel information, exercise classes, ACT preparation classes, and computer/technology/on-line classes...the topics are endless.

How will the Community Education courses be determined?

The River Falls community will ultimately decide what courses will be offered, with life-long learning always being the focus. A Community Education Advisory Board made of residents is in the process of being formed to give advice on the program's operations and course options. Focus groups, surveys and course evaluations will be used to seek input from residents on what should be offered.

Shouldn't the focus of the school district be just elementary, middle and high school students?

Our focus is K-12, of course. However, we need to start paying attention to how students come to us as preschoolers through early childhood education programs that could be offered through Community Education. And, since we espouse the virtues of continual learning to our K-12 students, we need to make that available to them once they graduate.

Learning never ends, and we need to put our money where our mouth is by offering Community Education.

Will there be any other benefits of having a Community Education program?

I certainly hope so. Community Education should help return our schools to their rightful owners: You! That should lead to improved public relations with the entire community, which happens to be another goal of the district's strategic plan.

Remember, the River Falls Public Schools are everybody's business, and we hope that Community Education will soon prove its worth to each and every one of us who has the privilege to live and work in this wonderful River Falls community.