This field task is designed to have you learn more about the agenda, focus, and function of a school boards historically and in our local region. You will attend one local school board meetings. These meetings typically take place in the evening, often on a Tuesday or Thursday night (depending on the district). Time will be allotted in our course syllabus for you to attend at least one meeting (an alternative to one of our formal class meeting time), and is part of what I deem as “real world curriculum”.
First, you will research and learn about the development of school boards and what function they were intended to serve. Next, you will write about the district that you chose, including what knowledge you gained from the meeting you attended, including: what framed the agenda; how the board functioned as a body (processes); the chronology of the agenda topics and the issues raised/discussed.
You should use at least 5 sources to support your paper’s content, and your comprehension and analysis of what you heard and observed during this meeting. The Spring textbook chapter does provide a brief overview of school boards. In addition, ask yourself whether or not the Board or the community stakeholders have raised any issues that furthers your thinking about issues related to race, class, language, gender, etc.? If so, what are those issues.
To help execute this task’s objective, the following may help you in framing your essay:
- What is the name of the district? How long has it existed?
- What are the demographics of the district?
- When did this meeting take place (date and time)?
- Where did this meeting take place (location)?
- Who is represented on the board? (Names, titles, background of people – gender, ethnicity, etc.)
- Describe the topics, issues, positions expressed? (Who spoke/didn’t speak as much?; what types of issues were raised?)
- Approximately how many people were present at this meeting?
- What parent/community groups were represented? What issues were brought forward to the board for consideration/understanding?
- Describe what role tests and accountability play in discourse on the school board?
- In what manner, if any, did the school board focus on student achievement?
- In what manner, if any, did the school board focus on teacher support or accountability?
- Describe what mechanisms are in place to enable the public/parents to communicate with school boards?
- Describe what issues/topics were raised about culturally diverse families and schools?
- Describe what community issues were on the agenda? Describe any strategies that you heard or observed by the board that will be used to understand community interests/needs?
- Describe what efforts/strategies are discussed or utilized to ensure that the teaching force reflects the needs of populations within urban schools?
- Describe any issues/challenges the board raised related to school funding?
- Describe any concerns raised by union representatives?
- Describe the role of the superintendent, where s/he sits among the board
members; when and the type of comments s/he offers. Note: The superintendent’s
cabinet is generally seated near the board members.
- Describe how the board/superintendent notes public comments.
In concluding, what insights or takeaways do you gain from attending this meeting? What connections, if at all, do you make between the content of this meeting and the information studied in this course, e.g., historical, socioeconomic, and political factors influencing school? This is a 7-10 paged paper, utilizing APA style. Please note that all APA papers must have a cover page, abstract page, and reference page which are not included in the page count. As such, all papers must reach at least the full 7 page minimum.