A key reason I am running for the board is to “promote better communication and transparency between all school stakeholders“. For me, communications is a critical issue for our school that has the capacity to make-or-break us if we’re not careful.
I believe the Governing Board has an especially crucial role to play in better communications with the entire school population and community and the existing communications has been faulty and confusing at-best.
I propose a simple three-step plan to improve board-to-community communications.
- No less than one week before the governing board meeting, an announcement is sent to the school’s community through our normal distribution channels and to interested third-parties (such as the local neighborhood association) containing:
- The time, date and location of the meeting.
- The entire agenda of items to be discussed with detail as-appropriate to what will be discussed and if planned votes are to be cast on certain subjects (or not).
- Clear feedback options outlined in the communication including:
- How to attend and give public comment.
- Location of a “Comment Box” for leaving comments.
- An email address or other online method for leaving comments for the board.
- During the Governing Board Meeting, all public comments are heard and/or read to the board in-context with the agenda item being discussed.
- No more than one week after the governing board meeting, the board publishes their minutes detailing:
- Exact action taken with respect to each agenda item.
- Should any emergency item be discussed that was not on the agenda, clear information about what was decided with additional explanation of why it was not previously alerted to the public in the previous communication.
- Next-steps or follow-up opportunities.
I should note here that I strongly believe each person with feedback for the board should physically come to the board meeting unless impossible circumstances arise precluding them from attendance. However, in this age of communication, there is no reason we can’t be more forthright about what will be discussed, allow feedback and data for the discussion, and report clearly on what has been decided and next-actions.
I also wish to note that I advocate for open, full-disclosure in all issues. Persons who come to the board with feedback should do so expecting to fully-disclose themselves and their interests to the board. Only in exceptional circumstances would anonymous feedback be allowed.