Project 5,000 Lets DE Residents Speak Out About Public Education - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Project 5,000 Lets DE Residents Speak Out About Public Education

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DELAWARE – It's been a busy couple of years for the public school system in Delaware. After winning $119 million from the "Race to the Top" fund, a program geared towards America's public schools, the system has made some big changes.

"Since then, it's become apparent that there was a piece missing," says John Hollis, who sits on the oversight committee for Project 5,000. "That piece is true community engagement.

That's where "Project 5,000" comes in. Until the end of October, at least 5,000 Delawareans will be surveyed to give their schools a grade and offer suggestions. The surveys will be given out in a variety of public gatherings in all of the counties.

"The voice of citizens should be more actively involved in the conversation," says Ron Ward, also a chairman on the oversight committee for Project 5,000. "If you say you want to go out and find out what people are thinking, you have to go out and actually ask."

The oversight committee consists of members with diverse backgrounds, including many previous teachers in the first state. Ward is president and chief executive officer of Corporation Service Company. He says he has a business background, but cares strongly about public education.

"This gives people the opportunity, that aren't necessarily parents directly involved in the school system, like myself, to get involved."

They say the surveys are "independent" and "non-political," so that the data presents a broad perspective.

Dr. Shawn Johnson, Superintendent of the Seaford School District, says he is excited about the project, and hopes the feedback is honest.

"I'm just hoping to hear everything from them, the good, the bad, the ugly. We want to hear it all, and we want to do something about it."

So far, Hollis says about 25 percent of the surveys are complete.

"The early results are exciting, and they confirm our belief that the community wants to and needs to be a part of the process."

Ward says they hope the surveys are analyzed by the end of this year so they can present their findings as soon as possible, but how they plan to do that, is still up for discussion.

For more information on the project, check out their website.

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