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Monday, October 05, 2009

Board Work Session on Tuesday

Board Work Session, Tuesday the 6th from 4-8 p.m. in the John Stanford auditorium on Student Assignment Plan boundaries.

Someone asked about the Board Work Session on Boundaries and what the format of the meeting is.

Board Work Sessions are open to the public. However, there is no public engagement that happens. The work sessions are for staff to lay out to the Board their detailed plan for a particular issue. It is a time where the staff will give a presentation (using PowerPoint) in chunks with Board questions and comments given at various stop-points.

I can't say whether or not the Board sees the materials before they are presented but I think most of the time they don't. I personally don't like it this way because I would want to see the plan before the Work Session to vet it and think about it. It is hard to think of good questions on the fly. Directors DeBell and Martin-Morris tend to ask the most questions, Sundquist tends to ask clarifying questions, Bass does ask questions but is often so soft-spoken that I often don't know what she's asking, Carr tends to ask questions at every stop-point given, and Maier and Chow tend to ask the least questions.

The Board and staff sit around a table by the screen for the PowerPoint and the audience just sits and listens. It is sometimes difficult not to get twitchy because you want to ask a question yourself and can't. Sometimes there is a lot of preamble before they get to the actual plan.

The PowerPoint is usually on-line by the next day. The public can get copies of the handouts but usually only the PowerPoint; other materials given to the Board are usually not copied in great numbers. I'm sure at this one there will be the PowerPoint that contains maps or the maps will be a secondary sheet.

There are no minutes taken so if you do not attend the meeting (or read this blog :), you miss out on the interaction between staff and Board. There can be a lot of tea-leave reading here as you can discern the Board's thinking by their questions and comments.

Last, when they have these 4 hour marathons, they usually have a break in the middle for about 15-20 minutes for everyone to eat something. So pack a sack dinner.

12 comments:

ParentofThree said...

When will the maps be made public or made available to the media?

dave said...

from the SPS website:

"On October 6, Seattle Public Schools will present new attendance area boundary maps at an afternoon workshop of the School Board. The maps will be posted online after the workshop begins at 4:00 p.m."

Sue said...

to echo Dave the maps will be on the SPS website after 4pm tomorrow, on the "Maps" tab in the Student Assignment Plan section.

I also remember hearing they would be on the Seattle Times Website after 4 pm as well, or at least the links would be.

Shannon said...

Anyone *not in the meeting* seen the maps yet? I thought they were online after 4pm but I have failed to find them.

SolvayGirl said...

Tomorrow—Oct. 6 @ 4PM

Sue said...

It's kind of like the night before getting major surgery or some such thing, isn't it? You know there is going to be pain and suffering, but at least the whole thing will be over and done.

Shannon said...

Ooooh, its tomorrow!!! Thanks :)

I thought it was Tuesday today. This week is really dragging.

sixwrens said...

Melissa - thanks for the detail about the working group meeting. Sounds like for a parent with limited available time it might be worth waiting for meetings that allow comment.

Charlie Mas said...

Recently I've been having this daydream/fantasy in which I go to a work session with a big pad - the kind they use at community meetings. As comments and questions occur to me, I write them on the pad - big enough for the Board members to read.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I LOVE it, Charlie.

Anonymous said...

Charlie said: ..."As comments and questions occur to me, I write them on the pad - big enough for the Board members to read."

Hahaha! You should really try this - there's still 1/2 hour before the meeting starts to buy a large pad and a big fat pen!

For it to be of any value, of course, presupposes that there are board members that care enough to look for input and ask truly meaningful questions. But it would be great entertainment in any case.

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