The rollout of the public participation portion in planning a Community Learning Center has been a little
slow, but Brookfield school and township officials pledged to work through whatever snags they
encounter to make the concept a reality.
The school district introduced the concept and has defined a community learning center as “a school or
facility that serves as a community hub, utilizing space during extended hours, on weekends, and through
the summer to provide additional academic support, health resources, social services, arts programming,
and civic and cultural opportunities to students, their families and the community. This opportunity will
be funded by grant monies and/or private donations. There will be no additional cost to local taxpayers.”
School Supt. Toby Gibson reached out to a “variety of people in the district and/or community to gauge interest and input to possible resources that could be utilized by students, parents and/or residents,” he said, and came up with a survey in which to get ideas on the kinds of community needs the center should address. The school mailed large postcards which contained a QR code. Most smartphones can be used to access the QR code, which takes the phone user to a website to fill out the survey.
Gibson reported to the school board on Oct. 20 that the postcard had gone out about three weeks prior, and the response was “a little low. It’s just over 100.” He said he knows some people did not receive the postcard and wasn’t sure why. He said the postcard had only been sent to the Brookfield and Masury zip codes, which leaves out Brookfield residents who have Hubbard, Vienna or Fowler addresses.
While the school is initiating the CLC concept and would like to host it on school grounds, Gibson said it’s important that the center respond to the needs of all community members, including those who do not
have children in school. The survey also can be accessed from the district’s website, and efforts will be made to make paper copies available for people to fill out, he said.
Valerie Kokor, who lives on Lynita Drive, said she would like to see the CLC come to fruition, but
figured that many people who live in her neighborhood would have no idea what the postcard was about.
She got paper copies of the survey from Gibson and went door to door asking her neighbors to fill them
out. Some received the postcards and had no idea what the QR code was, and others did not understand
the concept of the CLC, she said. Once she explained it to them, many were receptive to the idea, she
“They say we need something like this,” Kokor said. “They say they feel isolated where they are. There’s
no place for the kids to go.”
She also called for more community support in the organization stage. She asked the school board to take
on more of the burden, and to invite the township trustees to become more involved.
“I don’t think it’s the school’s responsibility to take this whole thing on,” Kokor said. “I don’t think Mr.
Gibson has enough hours in his day to really take this thing on.”
The trustees – at Kokor’s urging – addressed the center concept at their Oct. 4 meeting. Haun and Trustee
Dan Suttles expressed support for the idea, and said Haun was the trustees’ representative in the effort.
Haun noted that Brookfield has lost population, and that has impacted service-oriented groups.
“We get fewer and fewer members in our local organizations, whether it be the Rotary of the Optimists, or
whatever,” he said. “It’s vital, as a community, with a community learning center, that the adults take an
active interest in filling out that (survey), and, it’s vital that community organizations start working
“With something like this, and I think it’s a phenomenal idea, you can see our community actually
working together,” Haun said. “Everybody can throw their egos away and go forward to a good thing. If
they do this, I think you’ll be very impressed.”
Gibson, Haun and some other community members visited the Campbell Community Learning Center, and Haun said he was impressed with the range of activities offered there.
“It definitely would benefit the students of Brookfield education-wise, Haun said. “It would be a big win
for the community. And, with big things, come great things.”