What comes to mind when you think of the School Board? School Board meetings used to be super boring. Okay, not gonna lie . . . sometimes they still are. There’s little that’s thrilling about Robert’s Rules of Order. However, we can all agree that understanding what’s going on with our kids’ schools—and being engaged in the process—is essential. And in public schools like ours, that means dialing in to the School Board Meetings, because that’s where critical decisions are made. Read below on how to get involved and keep yourself informed.
School Board Meetings 101
The first Wednesday of the month is a meeting called “Committee of the Whole.” In this meeting, the Board explores data and presentations related to upcoming votes and plans. This is a time for discovery and discussion.
The second Wednesday of the month is the School Board Meeting. This is when the Board decides and votes.
Both meetings are held at 6:30pm at 540 Trestle Place, Downingtown—the District’s Administrative Offices. The meetings are in the James E. Watson, Jr. Staff Development Room, which is a large room, directly inside the main doors.
We encourage you to attend in person! There’s nothing quite like being in the room where it happens, as Hamilton’s Aaron Burr tells us. Anyone who attends a Board Meeting is welcome to share two minutes of their opinions or requests for the Board to consider. We’ve asked around, and trust us: the Board listens closely and places considerable weight on the comments shared by DASD community members (students, parents, and taxpayers). You have the opportunity to show up and share your voice for positivity and growth.
How does Public Comment work?
When you arrive at the meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to take a slip of paper. On this slip you’ll share your name, address, and the topic on which you want to speak. You can speak about anything you like; it doesn’t have to be on the agenda. These slips are used to ensure that everyone speaks in order without standing in line for hours. They also ensure that the Board understands when a local resident is speaking, or someone who is not connected to DASD. Public Comment is usually at the end of the meeting. However, at the voting meetings—the Board meetings on 2nd Wednesdays—the Board will invite comments related to voting agenda topics to come at the top of the meeting (hearing everything else at the end). This is so they can hear all relevant opinions before they vote.
There’s more than one way to follow what’s going on!
We all know that life with children is hectic and packed, and few of us reliably have spare time at 6:30 on a Wednesday. There’s more than one way to keep up-to-date and be involved! All Board meetings are livestreamed on YouTube, on this channel, so you can pop an earbud in and listen from home or catch up later that night.
Maybe you’re already wrestling with information overload. That’s where this Blog comes in. Our team will write and share a neutral, in-depth summary of every School Board Meeting, so you can skim and keep up-to-date on current events in your community.
Why follow Board meetings? Why get involved? Because communication matters. Because our elected officials are wrestling with important, complicated decisions—the kind with hefty price tags and long-term implications. We know the Board wants to respect and respond to the parents in the community. Decisions are made by those who show up.
What about writing emails?
Whether or not you want to speak in-person, you can email the Board and share your opinions. Sending a quick email is an easy and effective way to get to know your local School Board Rep and share your voice. We like to “sandwich with kindness”—remember, these are real people, serving diligently in an unpaid capacity—start off with a positive experience and always end with a thank you. Keep it real, ask questions and share your opinions, ideas, and concerns.
Everyone has their own elected Board representative. To find yours, begin here on the Chester County website to find your polling place. Then hop over to the DASD School Board website to find the name for your polling place (precinct) under one of the Board members.
For example, if you vote at United Sports, your precinct is West Bradford 4, and Mindy Ross is your School Board representative. You can email Director Ross directly, identifying yourself as a constituent. In our experience, the Board members are typically engaged and responsive.
You can also email the entire School Board, if you want to make sure everyone hears your thoughts. The important thing is to make your voice—a positive voice for partnership—heard.
Call to action: Join us!
Want to get involved? If you’d like to join us for fun, action, positivity, unity, inclusion…please fill out our form here. Join our blog subscription, follow us on Facebook, or join our mailing list. We look forward to connecting!
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