How does your board of education (BOE) do board business with your school community? It varies greatly from district to district, that’s for certain.
A quick look at available documents on a district’s web site can give you an idea of how much information is shared with the greater school community. Poke around for yourself. (If any links are broken, please let me know.)
I attended a local county BOE last week in large part due to the incredibly detailed agenda that was sent out by the Public Information Officer (PIO). Having been used to receiving agendas that look like this in my local school district, the level of detail provided in that agenda was inspiring. The meeting itself was jam-packed with useful information as well.
If you are unable to attend your BOE’s meeting, another place to review information is a BOE’s official Minutes, though Minutes are not approved until the following BOE meeting, which makes them less than timely.
Minutes are, however, good for research and historical purposes…that is, if the Minutes are comprehensive. Hands down, the winner of the Best Minutes Ever award goes to BOE secretary Mrs. Moore for Birmingham City schools. Here’s a sample of her fine work. The level of detail, particularly in chronicling what board members have to say is admirable. Another fabulous action the Birmingham BOE takes is to post all approved agenda items after the meeting.
A proper shout out must also be given to the Florence City BOE for its organization of Minutes and Approved Agenda Items on their web site. These are just a few examples of BOEs that are working hard to share information with their greater school community.
Information is only one piece of the strategy, though.
Four Specific Ways Your Board Can Do Business
Doing board business in your school community can be grouped into four specific areas:
- Meetings – the formal place that business gets done
- Information – the written-down stuff that boards share with a community
- Communication – what happens between board meetings
- Engagement – how boards collaborate with the community
The willingness of a board to do board business with the school community in the public’s full view likely depends on that board’s belief that the community is worthy of that collaboration and the effort it takes to fully partner with the greater school community.
How worthy does your BOE consider your school community?
Check out the various ways a board can do board business with your community as depicted in the graphic.
How many of these practices does your board utilize on a regular basis?
PSSST: For board of education members: the Fall 2013 issue of Alabama School Boards focused on helping boards better engage their communities. Take a look. It’s a great resource.