School Board Member Toolkit - Curriculum Adoption: Providing Transparency for Parents in the District
How Can I Help Parents Succeed?
- Advocate that information is posted publicly in a timely and organized manner to the school district website.
- Remember: posting information is only useful if parents can find it. Updates should be easily accessible and found in less than three “clicks” on the website.
- Ensure district policies encourage teachers to email weekly curriculum plans/updates to parents. This includes all videos, guest speakers, books, and documents they plan to use.
- Speak up if you see politically motivated or ineffective content and follow the Roberts Rules of Order to bring the item forward as a new agenda item, ensuring the issue is brought to the attention of the board.
- Invite your constituents to the meeting personally rather than only posting when district meetings will be held.
- Utilize online surveys to collect input from citizens regarding important issues.
- Send regular emails to parents with school board updates, as parents might not know how to access the website for information.
- Remember that parents are a child’s first teacher, and they know best how to help their children. Utilize them and form a partnership to ensure you are equally committing to their child’s education.
- Televise or livestream your school board meetings and post the video footage on your website so that all parents have a chance to watch the meeting.
- Develop a social media page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all three and post regular updates about board meetings, decisions, and updates. These can also be a great resource to post surveys and gather public input on issues.
What Are State Freedom of Information or Sunshine Laws?
Through state freedom of information or sunshine laws, parents and citizens can request to see public records formally. All trainings, programs, official communications (emails and call logs), and curricula-related materials can be requested. Whether you are proactively transparent or not, citizens have the legal right to request public records regarding your official business as a school board member.
By clicking the link above, choose the state you are a board member in, and select “Sample FOIA request.” It will give you an outline, like below, that you can utilize to see how citizens formally request information from the school district.