• aaronsmith4re4

Decisiveness is Key to Thoughtfulness - 8.28.21

This last week, I was able to attend a meeting at a local charter school in the district. Before I get into anything else, I want to just say that attendance was phenomenal. I have been to 4 of the last 5 board meetings at this school and I have never needed more than one hand to count those in attendance. This time, we had about 40 or so in the room. It was great so see that parents are getting involved, speaking up, and taking action! I could ramble on about what transpired and all the details, but I want to just point out a few highlights: 1) The board allowed an hour for public comment, giving up to three minutes for each speaker. After about 15 speakers, we had about 15 minutes left of that hour. At that time, the board president kept that comment time open and asked for comments from others that did not have a chance to speak. This was AWESOME as we had a few show up late that wanted to speak. We all appreciated not just cutting it off with those who filled cards out.

2) The board was uninterrupted during their deliberation/conversation. This was a pure example of how civil and orderly meetings can be. Why was it more civil here than in other meetings? Well, it is because we ALL got a chance to speak. When people are not given the opportunity they have thoughts, feelings, and emotion that are pent up inside. After spending time mulling over things and thinking about what to say, they were able to 'vent' it out. If this gets cut off, people are much more apt to interrupt and speak out. This has been evidenced by the many school board meetings I have attended in the last couple months.

3) Before the final and most impressive thing I made note of, I wanted to mention that the president of the board took personal responsibility. This often is NEVER seen in board meetings. The president realized a mistake that was made, and he fessed up to it as HIS fault, in front of everyone. We are missing this level of leadership in many boards!

4) Finally, the most impressive moment was in the board's decisiveness. After public comment time was over, the board proceeded to deliberate on deciding if masks should be optional or mandatory. It was only after 30 minutes of deliberation that one board member spoke up and took ACTION, by making a motion. It was within 10 minutes of that motion, that it was voted on and a decision was made. I was super impressed that they did not scapegoat their responsibility and elected duties by either delaying the meeting, or not making a decision. Parents appreciate a decision, whether in their favor or not, a decision actually shows thoughtfulness for parents to plan, navigate, and decide how they proceed. Suffice to say, that this real-life situation proves to me what I already know, that boards need leadership and decisiveness. They also need to be willing to sacrifice their time and energy to allow ALL parents the time to speak to the board. Too many boards are afraid of risk in making a decision, they just continue to drag the parents through this stressful and unnecessary situation of not knowing what to do. But, with decisiveness, EVERYTHING works out better for everyone!

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