This past year our country, our state, and our community have faced some of the greatest challenges of our time. These challenges have affected us each differently, but perhaps the most universal emotion we have collectively experienced is a lack of control. This lack of control is something we have each grappled with, but in many ways it has highlighted the importance of unity in our community.

We use the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” in recognition of the profound impact a strong community can have on a child’s education, development and future success. In the Howard-Suamico School District, we have the benefit of not one, but two villages to aid in raising up the next generation, and that effort starts with each and every member of the community, working together toward common goals.
The work of the local school district is delegated to a handful of elected officials, along with district administrators, but a school district cannot hope for long-term success without the support and input of the broader community. In HSSD, that input can take many forms, such as:

Attending school board meetings, either in person or virtually
Meetings typically take place on Monday evenings, once or twice per month, at 6:00 p.m. in the District Office Training Center. The district website includes details on how to attend virtually or in person, as well as agendas for upcoming meetings and minutes of those in the past. (https://www.hssdschools.org/district/board-of-education).

Participating in community surveys
Our two villages have demonstrated an ongoing and significant level of participation in surveys, and these data provide valuable insight to the administration and the board in setting the vision and direction of the district.

Voting
School board elections provide the opportunity to help choose the individuals who will represent you on the HSSD school board. And referendum questions afford the chance to voice support (or not) for future funding needs. In 2021, HSSD residents will choose from 5 candidates running for 2 seats on the board, necessitating a primary election on February 16th, followed by the general election April 6th. Also on the ballot in April are two HSSD referendum questions.
Attending a Community Information Session

Those interested in learning more about the two referendum questions on the April 6, 2021 ballot can attend one of three in person sessions in March, or an online session coming soon. Visit https://www.hssdschools.org/community/referendum/ for more details.

Being informed
Viewing the District website for the latest updates on the District, schools and community news at www.hssdschools.org.

The people of our two communities represent a broad diversity of backgrounds, heritage, political views, religions and opinions, and in many ways the HSSD school board presents a smaller picture of that diversity. Your seven board members often disagree, and can hold spirited debates on some of the decisions facing us, but one of our most important policies is our Board Member Covenants (GP-9), which states, in part, that board members will “focus on issues, not people or personalities,” and “respect decisions of the full Board.” In practice, this means that we can disagree on a matter, but once a vote has been cast, we agree to move forward together in support of our goals.
Your school board cannot do its job effectively without the support and input of the community. As we move forward together through this unprecedented time, let us bear in mind the powerful words shared by President Biden on his inauguration as he challenged our nation to “see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors,” “treat each other with dignity and respect” and pursue unity as the path forward.

For more information about the Howard-Suamico School District, please visit our website at www.hssdschools.org, or for additional information regarding this article, contact school board member Jason Potts, jasopott@hssdschools.org.