The View from Peaks Knob convened a community organizing workshop on July 3, led by trainers from Virginia Organizing. Thirty-five Pulaski County residents got to know each other and learned a little bit about organizing principles and strategies. We used the struggle for a new middle school as a case study for applying these principles and strategies.
Because we advertised the event as a tool for advancing the middle school debate, we assumed that most if not all people who attended would be more or less in favor of the school board’s proposed plan, but we had some participants who offered constructive criticism of the proposal as well as the advocacy effort in support of it and it made for a good, productive conversation.
One key workshop takeaway was that many county residents feel like the proponents for the new middle school have not taken the time to fully understand the range of concerns held by those who are undecided or against the consolidation and construction. As one participant put it, middle school advocates should be “seeking to understand,” but instead they have adopted the tagline “just build it” which sends the opposite message.
One of the action plans that emerged from the organizing workshop was conducting a survey to collect feedback from county residents about the proposal for a new consolidated middle school. Regardless of your opinion on the school, please consider completing this anonymous survey. The results will be tabulated and shared with the public, the school board and the board of supervisors prior to the next Board of Supervisors meeting on July 24.