Concerned Highland Citizens Gather To Discuss School System Issues

With the Highland County School Board facing a number of critical decisions looming, an ad hoc group of concerned citizens recently convened a meeting to discuss issues with the school system. Close to thirty people attended this meeting, both in person and virtually, and I spoke with one of the organizers to learn more about the origins and intent.

“My name is Kim Wolfe and I’m here as a parent of a former high school student, a substitute teacher, and a concerned citizen who cares about the future of the county, and the future of the school system is an integral part of that.”

“It came about through a Facebook post I put up and got some response to, and Claire Sax followed up with me as well and kind of became a co-facilitator of this group, that we have only met once, but we hope that we’ll be able to keep some interest going and keep the group together. In the absence of PTA or PTO type organization, which we believe did exist in the past but through the years has dissipated, we kind of felt as though the School Board, who’s certainly been dealt an unusual hand over the past couple of years with the issues they’ve had to deal with, were making decisions in a bit of a vacuum without input from parents and teachers. And we’d like to offer, proactively, input in terms of what parents would like to see in the school system rather than react negatively when the school board makes a decision that seems to be unpopular with parents.”

She continued, “So the goal is to let the school board know what, right now, parents think the priorities are in terms of moving forward in this situation we find now with a lack of leadership, certainly in the administration of the school, with the death of Ms. Blum and the departure of Dr. Schott. So that’s really the purpose, is to be a little more proactive instead of reactive, and provide input to the school board, rather than from a small number of disgruntled people who show up at a school board meeting, from a slightly better organized group of people who reflect a broader variety of opinions.”

Ms. Wolfe spoke of how others who might be interested can join in.

“We are still at the moment an ad hoc group, but we did collect email addresses at our meeting of people who would like to be kept in the loop. And we are happy to add to that list anyone at any time who would like to be either an active part or at least receive updates, because part of our goal is to attend every board meeting and disseminate information from that meeting to all the interested parties.”

“We have not yet established anything other than kind of a social media presence, but we are hoping to meet again after the February 10th board meeting and we will use social media again, but we will try and get something in the newspaper, and we’ll let you that Scott, so that you can publicize that. People will be able to Zoom in and there are many ways to get in touch with either Claire or me and let us know that you’re interested and we’ll add your email to our list.”

Stay tuned for Part Two of this story to hear the recommendations the group intends to present to the Board at their meeting on February 10th.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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