The Wrangell Public School Board held a work session on communication issues Monday night in response to the concerns of some teachers and parents.
About six months ago, staff and community members told the board they don’t feel like they have a safe way to communicate openly with board members.
School Board President Susan Eagle said she called the meeting to find out what is not working and to find a solution. After the work session, Eagle said she still thinks the concerns being expressed by some teachers and parents are a little vague.
“That’s why I’d like to see a survey go out with some specific questions on them addressing specific areas of communication, and see what the results are from that,” Eagle said.
Teacher Anne Luetkemeyer asked the board to provide a more informal way for teachers to talk to school board members. She said if a teacher disagrees with the administration, the teacher will only want to talk to the board.
The district’s current communication policy, recommended by the Association of Alaska School Boards, channels communications between board members and staff through the superintendent’s office.
Board Member Rinda Howell said she would like to have more informal conversations with teachers, because the board does not know much about the day-to-day activities of teachers and students.
Making time for teachers to have coffee with school board members was suggested as a possible way to facilitate informal communication.
Eagle said an open coffee session is a possibility.
“There are numerous challenges to that with everybody’s schedules. So it would be difficult to find a time that a lot of the board could get together at one time,” Eagle said. “We could certainly do that with one or two members.”
At its regular meeting after the work session, the board approved some changes to the district’s strategic plan. One new addition was the goal of “enhancing communication with staff, students, parents and the community.”
Board president Eagle said she intends to move forward with a communication survey for staff and community members.