New goals, new strategies and new directions are at the forefront during the Anchorage School Board's strategic planning community forums. As the time on the school district's Destination 2020 strategy comes to an end, the process for the new plan begins.

Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop says the forums are a way to engage as a community to learn what schools, community groups and support services can do to help students.

"The best part was really hearing from kids, what they wanted in their schools," Bishop said. "They really focused on the safety, mental health issues and the concern they have for other students. They want availability of counseling services. They want to continue having honors courses, upper-level courses. They want to continue having sports and engagement."

The community forums are focused on the best ways to give students the opportunities they desire and how to break down barriers preventing those opportunities

"So these are very important for the school board so it’s just not what we believe would be good, but we want parents and the community, all of our stakeholders to tell us what they'd like to have, what the barriers are and just generally, what are their hopes and dreams when planning education for our community," said school board member Margo Bellamy.

The forum engages everyone in attendance by placing them in small groups and starting them on a topic. On Tuesday night, the groups were asked to name one positive thing they remembered from school. 

The school board is holding four community forums with two already in the books. The final two are Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The last meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Mears Middle School.

"So all of the information that we're bringing in is going to help us decide on how to structure our goals so that they are measurable, attainable, holds us all accountable and gives kids what they need to succeed," Bellamy said.

If you can't make it to a meeting but still want to include your input, there is an online survey open until Nov. 27.

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