Communicating your conference attendance to the public
School districts across the state of Michigan each day are faced with fewer funds for important education programs. In the face of this funding crisis, school board members often find it difficult to spend money on their own professional development and training.
However, it’s important to understand that public money will go farther if school board members are well-informed. Decisions made about policy, personnel, finance and curriculum can be expensive and time consuming. Mistakes cost time and money — resources few school districts can afford to waste. In order to set policy for a complex school system, board members must have access to the best and most current information. As a board member, it’s imperative that you continue to seek professional development and training that helps you be the best board member you can be. Furthermore, communicating your boards’ participation in training to your community will help build confidence in the decisions of your board.
Following are some communications tips and procedures to follow in communicating your conference attendance.
Before the conference:
- Make a public announcement at a board meeting that representatives from your district will attend. Indicate who will attend, the purpose and value of participation, the approximate cost and return on investment to the district.
- Answer factually and promptly any inquiries about the conference.
- Review the meeting program to determine which sessions, discussions and activities will directly benefit your district.
- Designate an attending representative to prepare a summary to the entire board following the conference.
During the conference:
- List specific questions you want answered during the sessions.
- Collect material to share with board members who did not attend.
- Get acquainted and talk informally with other attendees.
After the conference:
- Prepare a news release including the success of the conference and its overall value.
- At a board meeting, share the highlights of the conference, what you learned and your observations. That way, others on the board and in the district will get benefits from your attendance too.
- Be available to respond to media inquiries, interview requests and other matters relating to the conference. Be prepared, informed and direct in your response.
- Explain the benefits of participation (see above).
- Be positive and well-informed about the conference programming and its importance to the school district.