SARTELL -- The Sartell-St. Stephen School District has taken the next step when it comes to overcoming some key issues facing their schools.

The district's new Educational Equity and Student Experience committee met for the first time Monday.

The group of roughly 90 members is made up of parents, students, community members and staff.

Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover says it was inspiring to see the strong focus and enthusiasm from everyone involved.

As I walked around and listened to the conversations among the group, they were respectful and people were able to express their thoughts in a productive way. I think we all left the meeting feeling energized, I received some wonderful comments from participates and it was a very nice first meeting.

Ridlehoover says the goal of the committee is to put the focus back on the students.

While the district had to limit the number of people on the committee they are strongly encouraging community feedback.

Ridlehoover says they plan to hold monthly community Listening Sessions discussing topics addressed at the previous committee meeting.

We want to engage as many residents as possible in the conversations. The schools belong to the community and we really want the community to feel they have the opportunity to provide input.

Ridlehoover says if anyone can not make the listening sessions he also encourages residents to contact him directly with their thoughts.

The first Listening Session will be held on Monday from 4:15 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the high school.

Topics at the listening sessions can be found on the district's website. The first topic will focus on Student Support Services and Mental Health.


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