PDF’s, Meetings, Policies and a Basket of Clean Laundryby Lisa Dubernard 3 Comments October 22, 2010
Over the last few years, I asked many people from school districts this question, “Are your board meetings and policies online?” And I’ve been pretty content to hear the answer has most often been “Yes, they are.” “Great!” I think (until I go look on their website). In most cases, I’m finding a few PDF files on their website with agenda outlines and/or minutes and the policies manuals as either one big pdf or several of them (by policy section.) Disappointment. That’s not exactly what I had in mind.
That’s not new to me. As a mother of three kids of the teenage persuasion, you think I’d have learned my lesson with the wording of my questions. For example, in the past, I’d ask one of my kids, “Hey, did you put your clothes up?” And they would almost always answer “yes.” Until I verified.
• They (the clean clothes) are still in the laundry basket but at the top of the stairs. (“You SAID did you put them up. I thought you meant upstairs!”)
• They are still in the basket but sitting in the floor inside the door of their room. (“You SAID to put them in my room.”)
• They are still in the basket but in the bottom of the closet with more dirty clothes on top of the the clean ones. (“You SAID to put them in the closet!”)
Could it really be that they don’t understand what I’m asking them to do? Perhaps I should explain why it was advantageous to THEM. WHY they should put their socks in the “sock drawer,” put t-shirts on the shelf (folded), hang “nice” shirts on the hanger. “So you can find your socks when you need them.” “So your shirts don’t look like you slept in them.” (Oh, well, not that that would matter to my son but just to illustrate my point.)
Well, what does all this have to do with going paperless with agendas and policies, you might ask? I think that not only am I not asking the right question, but that most people don’t really know what the real advantages are (or could be.)
Perhaps what I really mean is “How is your district managing your meeting agendas and policies online?”
- Can people access the entire “meeting packet” or just the basic outline of the agenda? Why is this important?
- Is there a work flow for submitting items and approving them? What would the advantages be for this?
- Do your meeting items include the detail necessary for board members to make the decisions they need to make?
- Does your system allow for the public to comment on pending policies?
- Can the items submitter link his/her agenda items to your district’s goals? (reminding us of why this is even on the agenda!)
- Can the individual meeting agenda items be flagged as confidential so that only board members or those with access can see them?
- And most important!!! Can folks (board/public/staff) easily search for and find what they are looking for without having to download/open pdf attachments and scan through them? Specific example: can I type in “transportation” and find agenda items and/or policies that are related to policies like in a normal web browser search engine?
And overarching all this–why are any of the “bullets” above even important?
Showing accountability, efficiencies, transparency and modeling best practice in excellent in governance and school leadership is why.
But, more importantly, what do YOU think?
“How is your district managing your meeting agendas and policies online?”
Categories: Accountability, Cost Savings, eBOARD, Leadership, Meetings, Meetings Management, Paperless, Policy, TransparencyTags: accountability, administration, agenda, board, education, governance, leadership, meetings, model, online, paperless, paperless meetings, pdf, policy, school board, technology, web