Questions after the Board Meeting

Every once in awhile I leave a board meeting with more un-answered then answered questions so I thought I would put them out for discussion. I continue to learn more and more about LFS, or Learning Focused Schools, and I was wondering what other districts were doing with it, and how they were making out with it? I am meeting with our district staff in an up coming workshop so I was trying to get me ducks lined up. Another question that struck me was do other districts have communication policies which detail who can or can not talk to the news media, or public? We had discussions on this topic, and we can’t seem to get the language right that does not restrict things too much. Last thing to cross my mind after our 11:30pm late meeting was, how can we as a board make sure we communicate with the public to know what they want in a school?

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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7 Responses to Questions after the Board Meeting

  1. Hi,
    As one of two blogging board members in the Christina School District in New Castle County, I can tell you that we too struggle with communication. When it comes to the media — our super and her designee and our board president usually make the official media comments. However, our policy for the board, as explained to me prior to taking office in July, was that it is up to that member’s descretion. CSD spent a lot of time in the media last month. When I finally chose to speak to the media, it was after I cc’d my superintendent and asked her opinion. It was a courtesy and she expressed no concerns with my decision. Had she, I would have taken it under intense consideration. As for access to the public, my personal contact information and that of every board member is accessible via our district website. I always FYI my super when I will be in distict buildings whether it’s for “business” or for my children. I’ve attended school events as a mom, only to be pointed out by our principal as a board member. No matter where I travel, I always have the elected official hat on. I keep my business cards handy and urge those with concerns to contact me by phone or email. Also, attendance at PTA events and social events in our schools seems very welcomed! What I have encountered as a concern is “blogging.” There are some who do not feel it is appropriate for a board member to publicly discuss school district issues online. My blog is prefaced with its purpose, has a strong disclaimer that it is my personal evaluation of issues that concern the district, and does not violate any sunshine laws. I also will never discuss a particular board member or their comments whether made publicly or privately, though I have at times referenced a blog written by another board member with his permission. It is in its purest intentions an effort to provide information, accountibility, and accessibility to the public. Hope this helps. Elizabeth

    • Wolfe Gary says:

      Elizabeth,
      Thanks for the feedback, and I to find it hard not to take off the board hat. As to blogging I also preface my individual comments as mine, but I have to be very careful being the board president this year. On your language for the policy what we have trouble with is the sentence, “The Superintendent, or his/her designee”. Some believe this to be too restrictive, and that minor communications should still be able to be done by building staff, and coaches. Is your policy on line that I can look at your language?

  2. John Young says:

    Hello,

    I’ll chime in as the other Christina blogging SB Member. Our district has a public Information Officer (not sure if you do), so the “designee” is simply a known/assigned individual. Perhaps identifying a member of your administration and then sending them to some media training, then informing the press that you have a person in that role will clarify the process for the district. That person may wer two hats if you have no ful time media/public information officer.

    As for Board members, we are permitted as elected officials to speak to the media at our discretion. Some of us do/will, some don’t/won’t. Those that don’t seem to advise those that do that it is dangerous. I feel it my civic responsibility to notify the public how and why I vote the way I do and how I inform myself on issues. If asked, I will answer is my strategy. As for the district administration, funneling through one person could have significant advantages, not just for crises, but for the dissemination of district initiatives/programs/policies and most off all accolades when possible.

    John

    • Wolfe Gary says:

      John, thanks for your input I know we have talked about an information officer, but as you said may have to be someone who wheres more then one hat in these tough times. Right now one of the issues is when say the media comes to talk about sports issues, or building level issues can the principals act as that spokes person?

  3. gerwhothe says:

    Hi
    I am a newbie here.
    Glad to find this forum…as what I am looking for

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