Markey’s Dunkin Talks


Victoria Valentin, Reporter

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Mr. Jason Markey, East Leyden High School Principal, wants to increase his communication with East Leyden parents. While he remains available and reaches out in the traditional ways, this year he’s trying something new. Students might even find him at a place they visit frequently: the local Dunkin’ Donuts.

Instead of having to make an appointment, take time out of the day, and have to travel all the way to school meet with the principal, parents might be able to simply pop in and grab a cup of coffee to talk about their school.

“I felt like taking a proactive step to put myself out into the community outside of the school,” Markey said. He sits down at a local Dunkin’ Donuts table in the morning and does his normal school work while waiting for parents to walk in to have a casual conversation and ask any questions.

The informal Dunkin’ meetings usually happen every other week on Wednesday mornings around 8 a.m. On those inservice mornings, teachers are in meetings and because of those meetings, Markey usually would find himself doing office work. He stated, “The way I look at it is I could just be sitting in my office doing work, but I would not be available to parents.” Which brought him the idea of spending that time in a more accessible area doing the same work.

He’s attempting to vary the locations in our school district; he has already been to four different Dunkin’ Donuts: Franklin Park, River Grove, Schiller Park, and Rosemont. He sits down at the tables and does his usual Wednesday work on the computer as he waits for parents to walk in and hopes to answer any questions they have. “I want parents to know that I really do want their feedback” Markey explained. The conversations so far have tended to focus on the upcoming school renovations.

He wants to set forth the effort towards parents so they know that he is there to communicate and would happily take a phone call and set up a time to talk as well.

The turnout, so far, has not included big crowds but Markey is not focused on the number of parents.  He is more focused on the quality of conversations that are occurring. “I would say it is successful in the way that I have talked to parents,” he said. He plans to make these talks a part of his regular schedule, which he hopes will cause more people to take advantage of it.

In the upcoming month Markey already has two Dunkin talks planned. He’ll be back in the River Grove location on December 7, and the Franklin park location on December 21.

Markey hopes that students will share this opportunity with parents and is curious what comes of these talks over time.