The Purpose of A Board of Education Meeting: Student Recognition, Community Involvement, or BOTH?
Updated: Mar 1, 2023
In the past two years of attending board meetings regularly, one of the main frustrations amongst community members and parents have always been, "Why aren't there more night meetings?" For the majority of parents who work during the day, making a day-time board meeting just isn't possible.
Currently, there are two night meetings a year for the Worcester County BOE. Board meetings are always during the day on the 3rd Tuesday of every month other than March and August. Last year (2022) the March night meeting was so full that community members had to wait outside the room to get in and were not able to hear public comments. The August 2022 meeting was lightly attended according to board member Ferrante. One could speculate that any summer meeting would be lightly attended regardless of the time.
During Board Member comments at the February 2022 meeting, I brought up the discussion of changing the remainder of this years board meetings to 50/50 day and night. This solution would accommodate both the parents and community members who are unable to make board meetings during the day, as well as student recognition. The Board of Education is the liaison between the school system and the citizens of Worcester County. The Board is NOT the liaison between administrators and students. My main focus as a Board Member is to hear the concerns and air the grievences of the citizens of Worcester County and implement their will in our tax-payer funded school system. Although student recognition is important, it should not be the primary focus of our elected board members.
I made the argument that students would much rather receive an award in front of their peers. There is something to be said for the 'Power of Peers'. Peers have an important influence on the behavior and development of adolescents. An award ceremony should be shared with their peers, not adults who have no immediate connection to their everyday experiences. The Superintendent and Board members could, in theory, attend the different assemblies to administer awards to still provide that connection to the board. Perceived support from peers can give students a sense of motivation and help other students see the importance of pursuing academic and extra curricular success. This can be a POSITIVE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE in a sea of so many negative experiences.
At the end of the discussion, I made a motion to change the calendar for the remaining 2023 year to half daytime and half night meetings.
There was no second.
The motion was dead.
I was for night meetings.
The rest of the board was against.
Community involvement is paramount in connecting together and providing transparency for the day-to-day operations and visions for the future. We, as a board, need to make sure not only are we putting students first, but the families and community that support those students.
REMEMBER: The Superintendent is the ONLY employee to the Board of Education, but who employs the Board? THE PEOPLE of Worcester County employ the Board of Education. It would be prudent to ensure THE PEOPLE are involved with our local politics. Meetings during the day conflict with our constituents ability to be active in the community.
How do you feel about the Board of Education Meeting Schedule? Would you attend meetings if you were able to? Please take the poll below!
When would you like Board of Education meetings to take place?
All Day Meetings
All Night Meetings
Even split- Half Day Meetings and Half Night Meetings
Current Schedule- All Day Meetings except March and August
Every decision in life is hard... so choose your hard.
Keep Fighting. Make your voice heard.
Your District 6 Board of Education Representative, Katie Addis