Thursday, April 23, 2015

APS Board Member Petersen and board host "round robin" discussion

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APS School Board Member Barbara Petersen chairs the board's District Equity and Engagement Committee - formerly the District and Community Relations Committee.

The agenda, link, for her first meeting as chair, included a "Round Robin Discussion/Questions".

A "round robin"* discussion represents a giant step forward for a board who typically shuns open and honest two-way communication with stake and interest holders, like it was the plague.
*After a brief search, it remains unclear to me; the difference between a round robin/table and a round robin discussion.  The rules for roundtables seem to be more clearly spelled out; the rules for round robins less so and therefore, more subjectively created.
This might actually have been the board's first round robin/table.  It's focus was on Indian Education which was consistent with the rest of the agenda.  As far as I know, the roundtable went unnoticed by the establishment's press.  Though since the experience is a largely positive one, one would think APS' million dollar a year public relations effort would have landed some establishment press coverage.

In true board fashion, the board abandoned a truly round table (or arrangement) in favor of a square arrangement of tables.  The board dominated their side of the square and their end of the room.  Not exactly in the spirit of a real roundtable discussion, but as I wrote, better than anything we've seen heretofore.

Kudos to School Board Member Barbara Petersen for her commendable effort to open up the process.

End note; There is an audio record of the meeting and round robin; they don't videotape committee meetings for reasons they choose to not articulate.  Unlike the videotapes which are posted on APS' award winning website and free to watch, you have to buy the audio record. Go figure.

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