Community relations checklist for the board

Does the board have a policy specifying community relations goals and objectives?
Is there a step-by-step plan for implementing this policy that specifies each aspect of the communication or community relations program and who will be responsible for that aspect?
Do you have a plan for dealing effectively with the news media?
If you have delegated community relations responsibilities to some staff members, have you made adequate budgetary provisions to support the program?
Is the superintendent asked to regularly report on the progress of the community relations program?
Has the board stressed the importance of good communications throughout the school community?
Is community relations training included in the inservice programs for district employees?
Does the district have a publication directed to its employees?
Is there a planned way of communicating with parents and nonparents?
Is there a plan for feedback from both staff members and the public?
Does the board use its meetings as a vehicle for communication and feedback?
Does the district use citizen advisory committees?
Do board members participate in school and community events and stay in touch with other public service and government agencies?
Does the board observe an appropriate chain of command for resolving complaints or grievances raised by school staff or patrons?
Are all communications efforts evaluated at least annually?
Does the board have a designated spokesperson?
Does the public have easy access to board agendas, policy documents, financial data, student achievement data and other information?
Are public surveys, community conversations or other tools used before the board takes action on major policy issues and on items such as the budget, changes in attendance boundaries or school closings?
Do you use your board meetings to showcase district programs and emphasize student achievement?

Adapted from Becoming a Better Board Member, a publication of the National School Boards Association.

A complaint has been filed against a staff member which has progressed through the complaint procedure and has been appealed to the school board. The staff member who the complaint is against has requested the complaint be heard by the Board in public session. We anticipate both sides of the issue may have supporters in attendance. After the board reviews the complaint and the superintendent’s response, may we go into executive session to deliberate or do we have to do all of that in public session as well?

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