Columbia public schools to host summit on \"state\" of the district

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COLUMBIA - People with concerns or suggestions regarding the future of Columbia Public Schools, can share them Thursday evening when the Columbia Public Schools hosting a "state" of the district public forum.

Dr. Peter Stiepleman, the superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, will discuss the current goals of CPS. He will be presenting information on where the district is terms of achievement, as well as current successes in academics.

Buzz Thomas, president of the Great Schools Partnerships in Knoxville, Tennessee, will speak on the importance of the relationship between communities and school districts.

Michelle Baumstark, the community relations director for Columbia Public Schools, said the seminar will be focusing heavily on community involvement within the school district.

"We are going to be talking about investing in student support, high quality employees, how we should go about continuing to manage the growth that we are seeing in our community," Baumstark said.

She said the current exponential growth of the school district is a "pressing" topic.

"One of the things that has happened, because our school district is so great and our community has so many great resources and is such a good place to live, is that more people keep coming to live here," Baumstark said. "It is certainly something that our community over the last several years has become extremely focused on."

Baumstark said the discussion will focus on maintaining current class sizes, as well as the development of more schools and the reduction of the use of trailers.

Following the speaker presentations, attendees will split into small groups to discuss potential solutions.

Baumstark said 150 people have registered to attend the discussion, but walk-ins are welcome.

The summit is being held at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. The meeting is from 6 - 8 p.m.