Coffee Beans

Clayton BOE holds coffee talks to hear from members of the Clayton community.

Maddy Ackerburg

More stories from Maddy Ackerburg

Black Mirror Season 4
January 22, 2018
Marci Boland
May 12, 2017

More stories from Barrett Bentzinger

13 Reasons Why
May 14, 2017
Fielding New Leadership
September 11, 2016
Lauren Praiss

More stories from Lauren Praiss


Clayton BOE holds coffee talks to hear from members of the Clayton community.

On the outside patio of a quaint coffee shop, Clayton Board of Education members sit around a small table, having colloquial conversations regarding issues and future plans for the Clayton School District. Sitting at the small table, residents of the Clayton community discuss different ideas with the board members that they believe will make Clayton a safer and better place for their families.
Members of the Clayton community interested in becoming more involved in concerns to the District have been given a chance with the recommencement of the Clayton Coffee talks.
These discussions offer a comfortable environment where interested individuals have the opportunity to ask board members questions about current issues pertaining to the District.
Kristin Redington, Clayton Board of Education president, feels that the coffee talks serve as a comfortable way for Clayton community members to have conversations.
“It’s an opportunity to put yourself out there in the community in a more relaxed atmosphere,” Redington said. “People can come in and ask questions about the current status of things or bring up concerns.”
The coffee meetings had been suspended several years ago due to lack of attendance of Clayton community members.
“We have done it in the past, but it kind of went away. They weren’t heavily attended,” Redington said. “But now the Board makeup has changed. Five newer members, including me, never got to participate in the coffee talks. The Board really wanted to reach out and invite the community to come ask questions.”
Since Redington and other members of the Board decided to re-establish the coffee meetings, the community has been given this great opportunity once again.
Meetings are held in different coffee shops in Clayton and the Central West End, providing a comfortable and inviting environment welcoming the community attending. Members of the board such as Redington welcome discussing a variety of topics that interest those present.
“The first meeting was about bike and pedestrian safety and the safety of walking to and from school,” Redington said. “We had another conversation in the first meeting about lunches in the elementary schools being too short. In the second meeting, was about the baseball field being renovated and the weighted versus unweighted GPA.”
Alison Hoette, a Clayton parent, regularly attends coffee meetings and feels that these meetings are positive experiences.
“A few parents had questions for the board members, asking questions about electives at the high school and what was being offered,” Hoette said. “I talked to the board members about the issue of how they were going to promote the sports program that is connected with the Clayton Center.”
Due to the casual approach associated with “Coffee Talks,” board members are able to share unregulated conversations with passionate members within the Clayton community.
“It was a great way to have some one on one time with board members,” Hoette says. “I do think it’s a better environment when you’re in a more relaxed setting. You get to hear what other parents have to say as well.”
In addition to parents, the Board also welcomes Clayton students to the coffee talks.
For the Board, these talks have been beneficial in the betterment of their understanding of the Clayton community.
“We keep a tab of what the conversations are about so we can bring it back to the Board and be more aware of what the ‘word on the street is’, rather than what our own observations are,” Redington said.