Students surveyed on parks, recreation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

Even before they are allowed to vote, the students in Ironton are getting to be part of the political system.

The city Parks and Recreation Director, Brett Thomas, Mayor John Elam and the Ironton school system are surveying the students to find out what they would like to do.

Elam said he thinks this is the first time something like this has been done.

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“I think it takes the guesswork out of what we think people want and goes directly to the source,” he said. “Hopefully, this will segregate it by age groups so we will know what may be important to an elementary school-aged child may not be of the same relevance to a high school-aged child.”

Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance said they were happy to help out the schools. He said he was talking to the mayor about the possibility of doing the survey and said the school had a computerized system for doing surveys.

“I told him it could save time and gather data,” Nance said. “Schools are all about data-driven decisions. So why not make a data-driven decision based on programs for school students?”

Nance said that they were glad to help come up with parks programs rather than having students having to come up with stuff on their own.

“I would rather help to structure productive time for students outside of school so they don’t get into trouble,” the superintendent said. “I feel we all want what is best for the youth in this community. There is no sense in competing for their time or attention if we can all work together.”

Nance said Tim Thomas, a teacher at the school, is working on the survey and the results should be available within a couple of weeks.

Parks and Recreation Director Thomas said there was no way for his department to get in contact with every child in town.

“I think working with the school was really the only way to get a hold of every kid,” Thomas said. “I think the results are going to help us out in so many ways. For example, if there are a high percentage of kids who want more basketball, we can add more programs for basketball. It could come down to kids want a water park, that means we are going to have to raise a lot of money to get something like that started.”

Thomas said he thinks the survey will be a win-win situation.

“The kids are going to benefit from this, the parks department is going to benefit from this, and I am sure the school system is going to benefit from this,” he said.