Sometimes outreach takes action.
RACINE-Kevin Brown is taking over this year as principal of Gilmore Middle School. His first order of business: get out into the community and check the pulse of the neighborhood around the school, which is located at 2330 Northwestern Ave., not far from the district’s administrative building.
On Tuesday, Brown went door-to-door along the streets immediately surrounding the school, with one of Gilmore’s new assistant principals, Kathryn Poznanski.
They knocked on doors and introduced themselves to the residents, many of whom are elderly. Some were reluctant to answer at first, Brown said.
When they realized why the two school officials were standing outside, they were eager to open up.
“The reception has been great. Most of the time, the neighbors don’t think we care or the school doesn’t care,” Brown said. “I want them to know that we do care.”
Residents in the neighborhood around the school said it was the first time they had experienced this kind of visit from an official at the school. Many are concerned about some of the fights that occur after school and they worry that some of the students might be responsible for minor vandalism that has occurred in the past.
Virginia Barnes, 64, has lived kitty corner from the school for the past six years. She said she hasn’t had too many problems with students from the school, but she was pleased to see Brown and Poznanski reaching out.
“It’s nice and different. It’s the first time,” Barnes said she has had a school official visit her door.
Barnes, who has a foster child who will start seventh grade at Gilmore next week, raised four children who attended Racine Unified schools and have been out of school for a few years, “but I never had anybody come to my house to see how things are going.”
Brown hopes his efforts will help build a relationship with neighbors and change the perceptions about the school.
Racine Unified schools start up again on Tuesday, Sept. 2.