Park City School Board Says Community Relations Is Top Priority

20 hours ago

Credit PCSD

The Park City Board of Education met Wednesday morning in the first of two team building meetings that are happening this week. The retreat will set the course for the 2018/19 school year. With the new superintendent on board, it’s the first formal team building opportunity for the School District’s Executive Board. Carolyn Murray has this:

The Board hired Maryann Billington from Action Leadership Group LLC, a firm out of Salt Lake City that specializes in strategy consulting and professional development. A prior survey was taken by the Executive Board which includes the five members of the school board, Superintendent Jill Gildea and Business Administrator Todd Hauber.    

Billington says a professional board will not be successful unless they have clear and uniform priorities.

“And again, I’m giving you a compliment. It was a relatively succinct list. Sometimes it’s endless. But there still is some meandering across a lot of different priorities. But what we re saying right now is, hey, we are really pretty much in agreement around these…these are urgent issues, they might need action on our part. They might need collaboration with Jill (Gildea) to determine what the administrative action is on it. These are the ones that are going to drive us. These are going to be the headlines for us.”

Community Relations, Master Planning, Organizational Structure and Governance were four of the top priorities the Executive Board identified in the survey.

Billington dealt with the priority of Community Relations first.  

“Anticipate how you want the community to see, but it’s also an opportunity to position before the community makes that action…things that have been important to you or have been processed. A new thing. Boards used to do very much the opposite including across corporate boards. The idea was not to say much. And so, the question is now, what’s our responsibility, how has it changed and how do we build a communication plan that allows us to do that effectively. Let me ask you about this..so there’s a proactive and a reactive way you can handle interactions with the public. What does that look like to you as groups or individuals. Is it we will be prepared when the community comes to us or is it a lean out into the community?”

Board Member Anne Peters says the good things happening in the school district are not always publicized and she feels slammed by the one issue that seems to be everyone’s focus. She thinks communicating, getting ahead of the issues and repeating as much as possible is the right strategy.

Both Peters and Board President Andrew Caplan say the School District, not the School Board, should oversee the communication strategy with the public. Billington recaps:

“So, if what I am hearing there is you are proposing there as the focus is to develop a communication plan at the administrative level that includes the board communication, the activities and behaviors…okay?”

“Correct”

Board members say the District Organizational Structure is best managed by the superintendent not the board. Superintendent Gildea says all boards struggle with the dichotomy of individuals thinking independently but operating as a team.

“The board taking seriously its own board development, which is what this board is doing….is really important work and its really important to build up the governance team because keeping that big picture perspective is to be in a governance role. And so, I think all of this work that youre facilitating does this for us. So, thank you.”

Two Master Planning Consultants have been hired and a stakeholder committee has been named. Consultants will guide the committee to develop a district wide plan by spring of 2019. The School Board will act on their recommendations.

The Executive Board meets again on Friday morning at 9. The first agenda item covers Roles, Goals and Controls at 9:15. Stakeholder Awareness & Outreach is at 10:30 and The Path Forward is scheduled for the final hour beginning at 11.