Greater Albany Public Schools district office.

The Greater Albany Public Schools district has a question — or six — for the community: What do you want?

The district’s request is broad, asking the community what works for families and students, what doesn’t, and how it can improve. It’s part of GAPS' efforts to complete its request for its share of new state funding.

The Student Success Act will funnel an additional $2 billion in Oregon classrooms but not before districts provide the state with plans for the money.

GAPS' strategic plan is set to be completed in December and will include community input through focus groups and a six-question survey that can be taken in person at an open house or online.

On Monday, Superintendent Melissa Goff told the school board that invitations for focus groups have been sent out and members of the district administration would be meeting with those groups around the community in the coming weeks. The groups will be targeted at certain groups that may not always be included in the conversation, according to GAPS.

The board had opted late last month to also hold open house meetings, not at local schools but rather, in the community, to meet people where they are, including the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of Albany. Those open-house dates have not yet been set.

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And while the focus groups aren’t set to start just yet, Goff got a head start.

On the way to a conference in Salem with six senior girls from the district’s three high schools, she said she had an audience and so created an impromptu focus group.

Other district officials, she said, chose two groups each.

“I’m most proud of our cabinet members who really chose groups who speak to their passion,” Goff said, noting groups included foster parents, immigrant families and minors staying at the Jackson Street shelter for youths.

The focus groups, open houses and surveys are meant to collect data from the community which will be incorporated into the district’s request for Student Success Act funds.

“By November, we’ll really be rolling,” Goff said. “We’ll have a lot of information from our community.”

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