Monday, March 24, 2008

Sign Up to Speak at School Board Meeting

For all the Garfield High School students, parents and others wanting to speak during the public testimony section of the School Board meeting on Wednesday at 6 pm at the Stanford Center, sign up starts this morning.
"Members of the public who wish to address the board may sign up by e-mailing the School Board Office or by calling (206) 252-0040, beginning Monday, March 24, at 8:00am. The public testimony list will be posted at the end of the day Tuesday, March 25th."

If you haven't given public testimony before at a School Board meeting, you should read the Rules for Public Testimony on the website handout to help you prepare to speak.

On the Board Meeting agenda for this week, the action items are mostly facilities-related. As Charlie has frequently pointed out, this School Board spends way too much time on property management. The first two items are the adoption of the Facilities Master Plan and a revision to the Board procedure for sales and rentals of closed facilities.

The item that interests me most on the agenda is the request for approval to apply for US DOE Community Schools grant money:

"Approval to Apply for a Full Service Community Schools Program Grant (Goodloe-Johnson) – Approval of this item would authorize the District to apply for the U.S. Department of Education Full-Service Community Schools Grant for 2008 to assist Cleveland and Rainier Beach High Schools in the coordination of educational, developmental, family, health, and other services for students and families through partnerships with community-based organizations."

I believe our only chance of serving kids well in the public education system is by forming strong partnerships and connections with families and community groups, so I'm pleased to see the district wants to apply for Community Schools money.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Note HS math Adoption moved again....

Board Work Session on High School Math Adoption, Wednesday, April 9, 4-5:30p, Auditorium

Charlie Mas said...

It is always a good idea to practice your talk and confirm that you can get through it in three minutes.

Three minutes is a ridiculously short time period for a talk. There isn't any time to build a cogent argument. If you can, write out your full argument for distribution (make enough copies for each Board member and the superintendent) and just present an abridged version at the meeting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ditto on what Charlie said. Three minutes flies by (and you always see people startled by this). Don't be that person and not make your points. My tips;

-if in a group, divide up the points so they all get made even if it is person by person
-honestly, don't bother with the "thank you to the Board for letting me speak" - they have to let you speak AND it just wastes your valuable point making time
-don't berate, yell, curse or name-call; they'll tune you out
-Speak from the heart; it works better than dry stats BUT
-don't forget about the greater good; if it affected you individually and it's a program, there are many more who can or were helped

Good luck

dan dempsey said...

Let us put this in perspective. These folks are notorious for no action as Charlie has made clear.

You testify to inform the public via television as to what is going on in their schools.

Public embarrassment over extremely poor decision making has yet to occur, thus poor decisions are still being made at quite a rate.

You should definitely take the time to craft a speech and write it out. I often include relevant data or studies cited in the support materials given to the board.

To be realistic you are much better seeing a board member one on one than testifying as Charlie has pointed out. Testifying to this group has little impact. When Harium was the only new director to vote against Denny/Sealth, I pretty much wrote off our other three new board members.

Little point in testimony when the best you can hope for is 5-2 in support of whatever piece of lunacy the SPS Central Admin puts on the table.

I testify because I am faithful to my kids and this defective leadership needs to be opposed; lest they get the idea that no one is watching them ruin our city's schools.

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