You only get one chance in life to make a first impression, but one good thing about life is that you do eventually get to make a second impression as well.

Guilford County Schools officials will have that chance to make a new and better impression to residents near Colfax, when they hold a new community meeting on the proposed Katherine G. Johnson K-8 School – which has been a matter of a good deal of controversy lately.

In late April, a group of residents in the western part of Guilford County, where the school is to be located, heard presentations from school board members – and the local residents had a string of objections to the plans: the roads were too narrow and dangerous for the added traffic; the curriculum plans for the school had been changed; the school would alter the essential nature of the area, and the schedule presented to the public suggested that it may not even serve students until as late as 2027.

Following that meeting, a group of irate county residents came and spoke at the Guilford County commissioners meeting, as speakers from the floor, and the commissioners heard their concerns. A few days later, the Guilford County commissioners met in a formal joint committee meeting with school board members and had one key message for the school leaders: Start communicating much better with local residents who are being affected by school board projects.

The commissioners pointed out to school leaders that there were $2 billion in school construction and repair projects on the way, so the communication problem needed to be addressed early or there would be a couple of decades of combative meetings with the public.

Commissioners also told school board members and school officials that the strategies the commissioners had just been shown for mitigating issues seemed well thought out and thus would have likely quelled the nerves of some of the concerned citizens had they been communicated well at the first meeting between the schools and community residents.

The commissioners got their wish.

Soon after the joint committee discussion, a new community meeting to discuss the K-8 Katherine Johnson School was announced.  It will take place on Thursday, May 4 at Colfax Elementary School.

Interestingly, that’s the exact date and time when the Guilford County Commissioners hold their next meeting – so, the commissioners should be spared some complaints from angry parents at least this week.