RICHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY
The Board of Education believes it is the responsibility of each Board member, as well as each employee of the District to actively communicate in a way that highlights the educational experiences in the Richfield Public Schools and promotes effective school / home / community partnerships.
The Board believes that citizens have a right to know what is occurring in their public school system; that Board members and all school administrators have an obligation to systematically and adequately inform all publics; and that the District will benefit from providing citizens with information, good and bad, directly from the system itself.
The Board of Education also recognizes the value of parent, student, and community involvement at the building and district level to enhance and support school effectiveness, student achievement and positive public relationships. In order to facilitate a collaborative partnership, the Board, working through the administration, is committed to:
- OBJECTIVES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS/INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM
A. To maintain an effective two-way communication system between the District and its various publics, which promotes
- Dissemination of accurate, timely information about school policies, programs, procedures, achievements, decisions, and critical issues;
- Interpretation of decisions and actions;
- Elimination of rumors and misinformation;
- Programs and practices designed to provide an open climate which will elicit ideas, suggestions, and reactions from the community and employees alike; and
- An effective working relationship with the news media.
- To provide for coordination of the District’s communication efforts.
- To develop and maintain an organizational environment where all District staff members are aware that they share the responsibility for communication of school policies, programs and activities to students, parents, residents, the educational community and others who have an interest in the Richfield Public Schools.
- To allocate human and financial resources to support a public relations program based on need and the availability of resources.
- To maintain a written communication plan, which will be available to employees and to the public upon request.
- To provide for the periodic review and evaluation of District-wide two-way communication efforts.
- LIMITATIONS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS/INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM
The Board of Education authorizes the expenditure of funds for the purpose of preparing and distributing information to the general public to explain the instructional program, operation and maintenance of the schools of the district: Provided, that nothing contained herein shall be construed to authorize preparation and distribution of information to the general public for the purpose of advocating on behalf of a candidate for elected office or to influence the outcome of school district election.
- ADVISORY COMMITTEES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS/INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM
The Board of Education recognizes the value of including parent, student, and community representatives on advisory committees at the school and district level. Such committees must operate within clearly defined parameters that are consistent with the mission, goals, and policies of the school district. The Superintendent is authorized to develop administrative guidelines pertaining to the organization and operation of advisory committees.
- SURVEYS AND FEEDBACK IN PUBLIC RELATIONS/INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM
On a periodic basis, the Board of Education will solicit community input regarding matters of Board concern through such means as written surveys, telephone surveys, and focus group discussions, designed and conducted in a way that ensures reasonable accuracy. Following Board review, a summary of the input received will be shared with the public.
- RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
The overall responsibility for developing and maintaining an effective public relations/Involvement program rests with the Superintendent. The Superintendent is directed to develop administrative guidelines to carry out the intent of this policy. Responsibility for effective implementation is shared among the Superintendent, Board of Education, and all school district employees.
CROSS REFERENCES: Board Policy 107, Electronic Communications
Board Policy 208, Open Meetings and Closed Meetings
Board Policy 954 (Parent Support Organizations)
Board Policy 203 (Organization of the Board)
Board Policy 208 (Open Meetings and Closed Meetings)
ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: November 1, 1999
REVISED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: March 5, 2007, October 16, 2017
REAFFIRMED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: March 1, 2004, October 16, 2017
926.1 Administrative Guidelines
Independent School District 280
Richfield Public Schools
- BOARD INVOLVEMENT IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
- All Board meetings are open to the public who is encouraged to attend.
- Information pertaining to major issues of concern to the public and the timeline for decision-making will be widely circulated so that Board members can consider public before making a decision.
- The District will maintain advisory committees so that the thinking of representative citizens and staff can be solicited and used to solve problems, which affect the future of the school district.
- Administration and committee/advisory leadership will actively reach out to engage students, families, and community members in advisory committees, with the goal of creating advisories that are representative of the diversity of the students, families and community.
- A summary of the minutes of the regular school board meetings will be published by the official newspaper as prescribed by law.
- A summary of advisory committees, including the demographic makeup, will be maintained, published and distributed by the district on the district website pertaining to committees/advisories, and reported publically to the board of education on a periodic basis.
- Board members are available for discussion of school matters with citizens and community groups.
- Individual Board members will foster effective school-community relations in such ways as the following:
- Attend or participate in various school and community events and activities
- Serve as a Board liaison to outside groups and organizations
- Participate in the Adopt-a-School Program, described in Administrative Guidelines 926.2.
II. DISTRICT-WIDE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM
A district-wide communications program will be instituted in order to inform the general public and school staff about the school district’s services, accomplishments, needs, goals, costs, and other subjects of vital concern.
- The design and implementation of the district-wide program is the general responsibility of the superintendent.
- School staff will be informed about district matters through communications from the superintendent and designated staff using a variety of media including newsletters, reports, brochures, informational meetings, Internet or Intranet, social media and e-mail.
- Communication with the community at large will be accomplished in several ways including newsletters, annual report, district handbook / calendar, special topic publications, meetings, presentations, news releases, notices, cable television programs, Internet, e-mail, podcasts, and electronic signboard.
- All materials will be factual and objective.
- Misinformation shall never intentionally be released. Unintentional release of misinformation shall be corrected immediately upon discovery.
- Information which might damage the reputation of students or staff will not be released, except as may be required by law.
- It is expected that applicable laws and rules governing data privacy and information security will be observed.
- A systematic effort will be made to identify and involve community groups who are interested in the schools and have resources that might enhance the educational program.
- Members of the administrative staff will make themselves available for discussion of school matters with individuals and community groups.
- The District Communication Plan and related documents are encompassed in Administrative Guidelines 926.3.
III. BUILDING LEVEL COMMUNICATIONS
Building- level communications are an essential part of the district’s public information efforts.
- The responsibility for building level communications lies with the principal as directed by the superintendent.
- Each school and staff develop and implement multiple strategies for communication with parents. Each set of strategies will deliberately align messaging and engagement directly with the overall district communications. Possible strategies include the following:
- Building, department, grade level, and/or classroom newsletters and notices
- News releases
- Open houses and curriculum nights
- Parent/teacher conferences
- Parent/family education programs
- Building and/or classroom web sites
- Telephone messaging
- Video programming
- Social media
- Electronic Signboard
- Every contact between a school district employee and a citizen is a public relations interchange. In the eyes of the public, the employee represents the school district. Therefore, information and in-service will be provided on a periodic basis to enhance employees’ public relations skills. Communication to review these expectations will be reviewed yearly, with in-service on communications to occur on an as needed basis, determined by administration with consultation from the Board of Education.
IV. MEDIA RELATIONS
Representatives of the media are recognized as integral to the process of keeping the public informed about the school district.
- Their interest and assistance in the communications process are welcomed.
- The superintendent and designated staff will provide assistance to the media in obtaining public information.
- Representatives of the media will be informed of all regularly scheduled meetings of the school board in time for publication. They shall also be informed of the dates, times and places of special meetings and school or district activities of special interest, as early as possible.
Revised: 3-1-04, 3-5-07, 12-04-17
RICHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
REPRESENT A SCHOOL PROGRAM
One of the objectives of the Board of Education is to foster a positive climate by increasing Board member visibility in the schools. One way by which this objective can be accomplished is to have each Board member “represent a school," attempting to schedule occasional visits during the school day and participating in selected school activities throughout the school year.
A. PURPOSE OF “REPRESENTING A SCHOOL”
1. To provide increased opportunities for face-to face contact between individual Board members and students, teachers, and parents.
2. To provide an opportunity for a more direct, in-depth exposure to Richfield Public Schools' programs and activities than can be obtained through written and oral reports or through occasional visits to a variety of schools.
3. To ensure that all buildings are visited, without placing an undue burden on any one Board member.
B. ROLE OF BOARD MEMBER IN ADOPTING A SCHOOL
1. In "representing" a building, each Board member will try (as his/her schedule permits) to attend late afternoon or evening functions that facilitate exposure to students, staff, and parents. From time to time, a Board member liaison may also wish to visit during school hours, as arranged with the principals.
2. The "representation" is not meant to be a burden either to the Board member or to the school which the Board member has adopted. Everyone is too busy to add significantly to the work load. Neither is the representation intended to alter the respective roles of Board members as District-wide policy-makers; principals as building managers and leaders; and the superintendent as the conduit for bringing issues and concerns which have policy, personnel or financial implications to the Board for discussion and action.
C. PRINCIPAL’S ROLE IN FACILITATING THE REPRESENTATION
1. The principal can keep the Board member informed by placing him/her on the school mailing list, so that any material a parent would receive would likewise be sent to the Board member (e.g. parent group materials, school newsletter, special announcements, etc.)
2. If the Board member wishes to visit during the school day, the principal would be expected to facilitate the visit in the same manner as the principal would facilitate a parent visit. Any guidelines for visitations that apply to parents or other visitors would also be expected to apply to Board member visits.
D. ASSIGNMENT OF BOARD MEMBERS TO BUILDINGS
In order for a "Represent -a-School" program to succeed, the assignment of each Board member to a school must be a realistic expectation for each Board member assigned. For example, if a given Board member has a very heavy outside work schedule but would be attending at least some events that pertain to that Board member's child (ren) attend, it may be wise for that Board member to represent the school which his child (ren) attend(s). Further, if Board members vary substantially in the time available to devote to school visitations, those Board members with more time may be willing to be assigned to two schools, in order to supplement visits by a Board member who is able to visit his/her assigned school on a less frequent basis. So Board members are exposed to the possibility of representing multiple schools over the course of his/her term of office, it is recommended that Board members are given the option of representing a different school each year.
Dated: August 7, 2000
Reviewed: March 5, 2007
Revised: December 3, 2018