Bridging Our Schools and Community Meeting: Communication

Topic: Communication: Inter and Intra

This was our first official BOSAC meeting. The topic of the meeting this month was Communication. The School Department will soon be sending out a survey to the community regarding Community Goals (SMART Goals). Information obtained from this survey will be included in the presentation the School Department will be giving to the School Committee in January/February when a Strategic Plan will be discussed. We discussed this Strategic Plan with Holcomb at our initial meeting (see the minutes from that meeting here). Note: The team working on this plan has been in a holding pattern and will soon be reinstalled.

After this recap from last months’ meeting, we moved on to discuss Communication. We discussed some reasons why we have problems with communication:

  • Busy school administrators and School Department employees.
  • Lack of time and ability to monitor how topics/issues are being communicated across the district.
  • Schools have different means of communicating to parents; inconsistent methods lead to communication problems.
  • Uncertainty regarding which methods are optimal: social media, email, phone calls, paper copies, NA schools website, ePack, etc.

Attendees then broke off into groups of three to discuss issues and potential solutions.

Potential Ideas/Solutions:

  1. Uniformity across all schools. Right now, schools issue communications on different days, e.g. Amvet sends out an email on Monday, Martin sends an email out on Friday, NAMS sends an email out on Thursday, etc. As long as parents know when to look for the information, they are more likely to see it. So, it’s important for principals to be consistent about when they send out their communications to parents.
  2. The possibility of a monthly email coming from the top down.
  3. A town-wide newsletter that every school contributes to. A few attendees recalled “True North,” a bi-yearly newsletter that went out in the newspaper. Talk began regarding finding a way to revive the idea of a newsletter that each school contributes to, which is then distributed to the entire district.
  4. Reviving the PTO presidents meetings with the Superintendent. This would create a wonderful opportunity for PTO presidents to share what is going on with their schools, as well as learn any information from the School Department that needs to be shared with their school communities.
  5. Issuing a monthly report in local newspapers that show where North Attleboro Public Schools are in relation to surrounding communities. This report would show our weaknesses as well as our strengths. The reasoning behind this is, while we want to be able to share the positive things that happen in our schools, it’s important that we don’t ignore the areas where we are lacking due to repeated budget cuts over the years. We are lucky in that we do so much with so little, but that does not mean we are out of the woods by any means.
  6. Holcomb mentioned NAHS creates a digital newsletter and plans to talk with Kate Violet, the NAHS teacher in charge of the newsletter, about adding information about the other public schools to it as well.
  7. Create options for families in town to subscribe to calendars and receive automatic updates when events or activities are taking place. For example, one attendee mentioned how she’d like to take her elementary school aged children to some North football games but does not know the schedule. Supplying families with easy to get information about events and activities happening across the district would help improve communication.
  8. Simplifying the naschools.net website, if possible. Aim for a “2 clicks away” improved for user experience.
  9. Ask NorthTV to ensure that we can view School Committee meetings on North TV’s “video vault” (http://northtvvideovault.pegcentral.com/).
  10. Attendees suggested utilizing our high school students to volunteer their time and talents to help improve town-wide communication amongst our schools (e.g., newsletter, social media, etc.).

Scott Holcomb had a number of take-aways from this meeting. MOKIES members did as well. We will be reaching out to the managers of all of the PTO Facebook pages to organize a method for sharing similar information to each of our respective schools. Facebook page managers will also share information about other schools in our community so we have a better idea of what is happening in town with all of our students. We are working toward a larger community connection among our schools.

In addition, we also now have a point of contact for each school (other than NAHS at this point). These POCs will develop a consistent means of relaying information from BOSAC meetings to their school communities, as well as help organize attendees from their schools at future meetings.

Next meeting: December 7, 2016 10:30 am -12 pm
Topic: The Budget Process plus follow-up from Communication meeting

Mark Your Calendars:
Artificial Turf Presentation
November 29th
NAMS cafeteria
7pm