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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- It’s called strategic collaboration. Bringing a group of diverse people together, throwing in a moderator, and bouncing ideas around. The group takes the ideas out and shares them with others. Then they do it all over again. It’s a process Columbus City Schools have adopted to develop a concrete plan for everything from education goals to community involvement.

Sylvia Collins is a gifted education teacher at Columbus Middle School. She’s given up some of her Saturdays to be a part of an education council.

“We come up with the core of ideas at the meetings and vet those ideas to those teachers and find how do you feel about this? How do you feel about this being our mission statement? How do you feel about our vision for the district?” says Collins.

And it’s not just educators, the district wants the entire city involved. Collins thinks it’s a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s a very progressive idea. I think it’s very fitting that our school board and our administration are wanting to have a district that has transparency and that includes everyone,” Says Collins.

Lori Pierce’s three children attend Columbus city schools. She represents parents in the education council work sessions and loves the districts’ creative way of getting parents involved.

“For most of the day, I sat down in a room with the school board and with the administrators and with teachers and with community members and we got a chance to just talk to each about how schools function to form some of those relationships. We are all in this together. We all have to work together and anything we can do to help get us all on the same page and frankly to know each other is a benefit in my opinion,” Says Pierce.

In the end, Collins says educating the children is what it’s all about.

“Parents are taking their whole Saturdays and teachers are donating their whole Saturdays and the community leaders so that we can do what’s best for our children.”

Participants plan on having another education council session next month.

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