CHAMPAIGN — For the first time, Champaign schools Superintendent Judy Wiegand is hosting a supper for whoever would like to sit down and talk with her about district issues.
The first-ever Supper with the Superintendent is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 1 in the cafeteria of Stratton Leadership and MicroSociety Magnet School, 902 N. Randolph St., C.
Additional parking is available at the district's Family Information Center at 1103 N. Neil St., C, and at the district's Academic Academy, 815 N. Randolph St., C.
The school district will feed the first 100 people who show up, with food catered by Central High School's advanced foods classes and entertainment provided by the Central High School jazz combo.
District spokeswoman Lynn Peisker said the idea came out of a brainstorming session with Melodye Rosales for connecting the community with the school district.
Wiegand liked the idea and decided to try it, Peisker said.
"If it goes well, we'll do this more often," she said, and at schools throughout the community so more people can attend. She said she's not sure how many people will attend this first event.
There's no agenda, and people can just sit around a table and talk with Wiegand about education and the community.
"When as a family, you sit around a table, important ideas are discussed, problems are solved and solutions are developed," Peisker said.
This latest event is a way to foster the relationship between the community and the school district, she said.
"We're committed to transparency, to community input," Peisker said. "It's a community school district."
The supper will also include soup, cornbread and cookies catered by Central's advanced foods classes.
The classes, which have a total of about 30 students, catered an administrator luncheon last fall, which led Peisker to call them for this event, she said.
"The kids acted professionally and took pride in their presentation," Peisker said. "I felt like I was really at a catered event. Plus, we like to support the efforts of our students."
Some of those students will serve the meal, said Kate Mindrum, nutrition and culinary arts teacher. She had no problem recruiting them to volunteer for the event, even though it's after school, she said.
"They really do show a lot of pride" in their cooking and serving, Mindrum said. After the last event, Mindrum said, a student stopped to tell her how many compliments she had received.
It's also a good opportunity for the class to use math, Mindrum said, breaking down costs by recipe and serving size, and deciding whether to make items from scratch or buy the pre-made versions, based on factors such as labor costs.
"It shows why math is so important," Mindrum said.
Peisker said using the Central class to cater the event and the school's jazz combo to entertain makes the event even more about the school district.
"It's a true Unit 4 event," she said.