by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection
Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton plans to conduct school Roundtable Visits during the 2023-2024 school year. His goal is to visit every single school and he’s on track. He’s visited more than 60 schools already, including Vanderlyn. These visits are designed as an opportunity for open discussion with the Superintendent about what is happening in each school & community, and to hear stakeholder thoughts on how we can improve as a district.
For each meeting, the Principal of the school is asked to invite a student, teacher, parent, and a community stakeholder to participate in the discussion. I was fortunate to be included as a community stakeholder and was joined by VES PTSO Co-Chair (Whitney Gaines), an amazing VES 5th Grader (Isa), VES Second Grade Teacher (Demetreia Adderley) and Principal Crenshaw.
Dr. Horton was joined by Chief of Community Engagement & Innovative Partnerships (Dr. Yolanda Williamson). Both Dr. Horton and Dr. Williamson were engaging and attentive. He asked each of us to go around the table and explain: “What makes Vanderlyn so special.” He followed up with a second and final round table question for the team: “What can the District do to help Vanderlyn meet its goals?”
Our group was honest and it was quite clear that each of us loves Vanderlyn. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learning about VES from the current perspective of this group. Particularly, Isa…the 5th grader. She was confident and concise and clear with her thoughts and was a complete joy to meet.
Horton and team took a quick tour of Vanderlyn’s amazing outdoor classroom then had to quickly depart for yet another school visit.
Our VES team from today were all very pleasantly surprised at how easy to talk to and personable Dr. Horton seemed. He gave feedback that the things we mentioned we needed from the District were all doable and we are patiently optimistic to find out what happens from here…
Fun fact: This is the first and perhaps only visit from a DeKalb Superintendent to Vanderlyn Elementary. Mrs. Crenshaw, VES Secretary/Registrar (Andrea Gillett) nor I can remember one ever visiting VES.