Hearing from the Community
By Patricia O’Neill
The Board of Education recently held a retreat to discuss ways we can better engage with our community and how we can make our work more accessible and transparent to the public. It was a follow up to our summer discussion on the same topic. My colleagues and I are always interested in hearing the views of our constituents and hearing feedback on matters before the Board.
Board staff and the superintendent’s staff have been working closely together to develop a joint engagement plan to create opportunities for Board members and Dr. Starr to meet with our parents, students and community stakeholders. We know there are many school issues of great interest to our community and we want to provide many opportunities to hear voices and perspectives from across the county.
The Board also made a few decisions to improve its Board meetings and how the public can participate. We’ve increased the length of public comments from 2 minutes to 3 minutes for individuals who sign up to testify at our meetings. In addition, we have decided that our committee meetings, to the greatest extent possible, will be televised on MCPS TV and archived on the MCPS website. Our committee materials are available online, but now the public will be able to watch our discussions and deliberations. We believe this will give the public a greater understanding of the decisions we make in the interests of our students.
As always, we encourage our constituents to share their thoughts with us through all of our existing channels as well, including the Board email.