Saturday, November 01, 2008

Constitutional Amendment 1; nine member school board and mail in ballots.

I think the amendment is going nowhere because there are two
questions on a single ballot; a nine member school board, and
mail in balloting. I am under the impression that two questions
cannot be settled by one vote.

In any case, should APS have a nine member board?

The consensus of the board was that nine members would
make the process unbearably ponderous, it is hard enough
to get seven people to agree on something, much less nine.

Which leads to a fundamental flaw in school board meetings,
and meetings in general in the APS.

The leadership of the APS does not believe in meeting facilitation. one link of 502,000 hits for "meeting facilitators".

No matter how talented one is as a board member or administrator, it does not follow that one is a talented meeting facilitator, or even a productive committee member.

Take for example, yesterday morning's board meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to debrief on the learning
that the board experienced on their trip to Houston.

Robert Lucero spent fully a tenth of the meeting, talking about his idea to subvert the school naming process, and name the next APS school after Tony Hillerman.

At the end of the meeting, it was obvious that there was ground uncovered, yet the meeting ended relatively on time as required.

Had there been a facilitator, Robert Lucero could have been cut at least a little shorter, and more of the meat of the meeting could have been chewed.

I cannot tell you how many meetings I attended as a teacher,
meetings, some of profound importance, that dissolved into
interpersonal squabbles and time wasted while certain others
droned on about one thing or another.

The lack of facilitation at meetings, and the lack of training on how to be a productive participant in a meeting, has an immeasurable, but significant cost.

Stakeholders cannot simply be involved without preparation and training.

The board could use a facilitator, and a parliamentarian.

A meeting facilitator needs to be skilled in keeping meetings on track. They don't have to be conversant in the subjects of meetings; the expertise is brought to the table by the participants.

The board had a person at the meeting who's job it was to take notes on a large easel. For what purpose, to what end? For the same investment of resources, a facilitator could have been furnished.

Perhaps we would have listened more to board members reactions to their training, and less to Robert Lucero's need to spearhead a school naming campaign.

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