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Shen unveils outreach tools

Heard it Through the Grapevine, an online question-and-answer forum introduced by the Shenendehowa Central School District, Monday, Feb. 4, has received an overwhelming response from community members, who have already flooded it with questions on topics from refurbishing the middle school auditorium to the availability of student records.

The new Web page is designed to provide official answers to the community, preventing rumors from flying around the district.

"It offers a place for people to come and get accurate information," said Kelly DiFaciani, public information officer for the district.

The Web page also has an archive, which categorizes common questions for access by another user.

DiFaciani said that several questions are asked frequently, and the Web site provides documentation of the answer that is "accessible to anybody at anytime."

The school has also unveiled an after-hours number, where the community can address concerns requiring a school's immediate attention when the district offices are closed.

DiFaciani said that the number could be used to address several types of concerns. For example, she said, if parents are concerned about a child returning late from a field trip, they could call the number and determine when the students would be arriving or the cause of the delay. She said the school's security is beeped when a message is left. The security evaluates the priority of the situation and returns the callers' messages when necessary. Telephone numbers will be identified, and blocked numbers are not accepted. DiFaciani said the number is not a substitute for 9-1-1.

The district has also been holding Community Conversations with the Superintendent for three years. These forums provide the community a place to discuss issues at the district level.

During a forum held Saturday, Feb. 9, Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson, answered questions from more than 20 residents on topics including co-ed physical education and the role of the high school guidance.

The next community conversation will be Saturday, April 5, at the Shatekon Library.

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