As I write this, I am sitting in one of the many Beyond Bricks EBR Listening Events being held across the city. The discussion is rich, lively and passionate.

When this initiative first took shape, we were not sure what to expect in the level of engagement. Although the response was extremely positive, we know people have busy schedules. I am happy to report that we are gathering very meaningful input from a large and diverse group of citizens to recharge our public schools.

The Listening Events run through Feb. 12, and I urge every reader to find one they can attend. There are many issues impacting our children’s education, and our community has a tremendous opportunity to shape priorities through the Beyond Bricks EBR process. In addition to the Listening Events, we will be getting student input through focus groups. We will also open online input for any community member who was unable to attend a Listening Event. However, we urge citizens not to use the online feature as a replacement for in-person participation.

I send gratitude to the many organizational supporters of Beyond Bricks EBR — they are highlighted on our website. The dedicated facilitators, scribes, hosts and facilities’ managers have dedicated countless hours of volunteer time to the process. The news media is to be commended for their excellent coverage. All of this effort is why this initiative is proving successful. It is evident our community cares tremendously about public education and has shown up in a big way to speak up on this issue.

Visit www.beyondbricks to find a Listening Event to have your say.

Anna Fogle

chairwoman, Beyond Bricks EBR Steering Committee

Baton Rouge