Community gets to know South Bend Schools' new superintendent

The new superintendent Of South Bend Community Schools is hosting a Listening Tour to better get to know the community and their needs.

The first was hosted at Navarre Intermediate Center on Thursday night.

“I want to show them that we really care about their kids and the students in this corporation. I want them to be able to as questions and really feel positive about the school corporation,” said Dr. Spells.

Many teachers, community members, parents and their children came for one-on-ones with Dr. Kenneth Spells, who took office in July.

 “Basically they have our kids eight or nine ours of the day. So it’s good to have good communication,” said Carlina Davis, a grandmother to South Bend students.

K-12 Math Curriculum Facilitator Dr. Marilyn Nash says she was excited to see so much effort on Dr. Spells part.

“Right away to have someone so interested in the community, the contribution, the relationships and moving forward in a positive way all together. That to me is phenomenal,” said Dr. Nash.

South Bend parent Sarah Hunter came to talk with Dr. Spells about diversity issues in the district.

“Breaking barriers between bilingual and African-American students because there is some underlying issues that are going on,” said Hunter.

 “As a local Hispanic person we’ve been underrepresented in the community so sometimes our questions and concerns aren’t answered,” said Riley High School student Shane Inez.

Inez says he appreciated Dr. Spells’ willingness to listen to the needs of all students, and how he brought in diverse community leaders to help bridge gaps.

 “Its just important for the community to feel hears, to have an opportunity to come and say ‘hey here's the things we love about the school, and here's the things we’d like to change’ and then to legitimate work together to see some of that progress,” said Sam Centenellas, Executive Director of La Casa de Amistade.

Dr. Spells is calling the community involvement’s in the school system “Team South Bend.”

“I like his slogan where basically the whole community can help with our kids,” said Davis.

The Listening Tour continues next Thursday, August 25 from 5:00-6:30 at Jackson Intermediate Center. September 8, 5:00-6:30 at Clay High School and September 22, 5:00-6:30 at McKinley Primary Center.

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