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Community Outreach Phase 1: Town Hall Meeting Agenda
School districts and individual schools can schedule a town hall meeting and invite members of the various stakeholder groups: students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, business leaders, community organization leaders, elected officials, faith-based partners, non-profit partners and the general public to discuss public schools in the following context:
– Convey how public education supports the financial health of North Carolina
– Dispel the myth that “public schools are broken.”
– Promote traditional public schools as the best choice for North Carolina students and families.
Town Hall Meetings should be scheduled for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Town hall meetings may be led as a panel discussion, with a moderator (preferably someone from outside of the school or district) who provides the welcome, background information and gives an overview of the meeting structure with additional time for Q&A at the end of the session.
Sample Town Hall Meeting Agenda
Every Child’s Chance... Every Community’s Future
Call to Order................Moderator
Video Presentation/History of Public Schools (See Social Media Resources to access PSAs)
Introduction of Panelists......................Panel Members
Panel Discussion...............................Panel Members
Q & A....................................Attendees
Moderators should communicate the following:
– How much time each participant will have to respond to the questions.
– Reference biographies that you have provided to the audience in advance or via printed agenda/program for each of the panelists to maximize discussion time.
– Manage the Q&A by repeating the question and ensuring responses to all questions, in the absence of Superintendent or other designee, close the meeting and adjourn.
TIP: If you have the resources in your district, it may be a good idea to have your town hall meeting filmed, to play on your local educational access channel or school district YouTube channel. Additionally, the host school/district may want to provide information about how others in the district would use information gathered during the meeting.
Panelists should be diverse and include the following:
– Student(s): one middle school student, and one high school student or two high school students
– Parent(s): at least one parent who considers his or herself an advocate for public education
– Teacher(s): at least one teacher who is considered a teacher leader in his or her school
– Administrator(s): at least one building-level principal who is champion for his or her school
– Business partner(s): someone from the business community who is well-respected and a champion for public schools.
– Superintendent: superintendent or designee (another high level executive staff member) participates in the panel discussion as well.
– School Board Member/County Commissioner/Other Elected Officials: another community member who is an elected official, well respected in the community and supportive of traditional public schools.
School Districts should feel free to customize questions for each stakeholder group as needed to fit their local district.
Student: How are your daily experiences in school preparing you for your plans after graduation?
Parent: Why did you select for your student to attend traditional public schools? As a parent, how satisfied are you with the education your child(ren) is (are) receiving? What recommendations would you offer for parents who are deciding between traditional public schools, charter schools, home schooling and private schools for their children?
Teacher: What teaching strategies have you found most effective in preparing our children for higher education and future careers? How are you supporting and meeting the needs of all children in your classes? What could others in the community do to better support you as a teacher?
Administrator: What roles do principals have in ensuring that our public schools adequately prepare our children for their future? How has the role of the school principal changed to meet the needs of every child, and to provide support for public school teachers? What would you identify as your biggest challenge?
Business Leader: How are the ABCD public schools and local businesses/industry partnering to address the needs of the local and regional community’s workforce? Please provide specific examples. What other ways might the traditional public schools and business work together to provide a pipeline of highly qualified workers for this community? What are the top three necessary skills that students should have when they graduate?
Superintendent/Designee: What are the biggest challenges facing traditional public schools, and how is district ABCD prepared to address these challenges? What is the vision for ABCD schools within the context of our local and regional community?
Elected Official: Can you speak to any myths or misperceptions about public schools that may be in the minds of citizens and members of the general public who have limited exposure to traditional public schools? How do the classrooms you see today differ from your own personal experiences?
Once the questions have been completed and panelists have had the opportunity to respond, the moderator can then open the floor for additional questions to be opened up to the group. Each individual can direct one question to the group, and respondents have two minutes to provide an answer to the question. Have high school student volunteers on hand to serve as runners, when attendees raise hands to ask questions (If using microphones, the students can pass the microphones) At the end of the open Q&A period, the moderator closes the panel discussion.
The Superintendent of Schools or Moderator (depending on the district’s preference) could then share information about the 175th anniversary of enactment of the Common School Law, and invite participants to collect any promotional materials and information offered by the school district at the event.
TIP: Add a personal touch to your Town Hall meeting. It could be advantageous for school districts to accompany their town hall meetings with an exhibit area of student “artifacts” where students of all ages can showcase academic projects, art work/creative projects, and potentially provide musical and theatrical performances in separate area of the selected venue. This provides public school districts an opportunity to showcase positive student outcomes while providing attendees an opportunity to interact with students and faculty to further support our theme: “Every Child’s Chance, Every Community’s Future.”
Community Outreach Phase 2: Kitchen Table Conversations (KTC)
Schools districts can host Kitchen Table Conversations and invite members of the various stakeholder groups: students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, business leaders, community organization leaders, elected officials, faith-based partners, nonprofit partners, and the general public, to discuss public schools in the following context:
• Convey how public education supports the financial health of North Carolina
• Dispel the myth that “public schools are broken.”
• Convey that traditional public schools serve as an outstanding resource for North Carolina students and families.
KTC events for “Every Child’s Chance, Every Community’s Future should have a designated emcee who welcomes guests and provides an overview of the event structure. The room should be set in rounds wherever possible, rather than auditorium-style seating. Each table should have a facilitator who leads the conversation for their group. It might be good to have a mix of moderators, made up of various stakeholder groups. Sample moderators include: confident high school students, parents, classroom teachers, business and community leaders, school building administrators, central office administrators, and elected officials.
School districts can decide whether or not they would like to have participants RSVP for these events.
On the designated event night, participants should be asked to arrive by a certain time at the School, Central Office (or Community location where event is held) and proceed to the designated room in the building, and sign in for KTC.
Participants will check in and receive a welcome packet/name tag. They will also receive a table assignment as they sign in.
Moderators will facilitate the small group discussions, beginning no more than 15 minutes after the arrival time.
Chart paper (or laptop computers/ipads for the tech saavy districts) are used to record responses. The conversation should provide points of pride for the school district to utilize as part of their storytelling, sharing, and promoting of the campaign.
Sample Event Timeline
5:30 p.m. Participants arrive to sign-in for Kitchen Table Conversations, check-in, receive table assignments, grab light refreshments, if provided.
5:45 p.m. Event Emcee, (administrator) Superintendent, BOE chair, whoever the district chooses provides a welcome, and gives general directions for the evening.
5:50 p.m. Small Group discussion begins for all tables; overall event moderator reminds participants that they have five (5) minutes to discuss each question. Warning given at 6:14 (1) that one minute remains
6:15 p.m. Event emcee opens the floors for the large group discussion, each group shares what they have for their set of questions, and others can contribute at this time for the larger discussion.
7:00 p.m. Event emcee, Superintendent, BOE chair, etc. closes the event, thanks everyone for attending. Discusses the “Every Child’s Chance, Every Community’s Future.”
Sample Questions for each table to address:
(These questions can be divided up, based on the demographic of the moderator at each table. This will help keep the length of the event reasonable and it will also make the full-group sharing time more valuable.
Public School Students
How are students’ daily experiences in public schools preparing them for their plans after they graduate from high school?
What personal student success stories can we think of that can be shared with others?
What unique opportunities are students given in public schools?
Public School Parents
Why have parents selected for their students to attend traditional public schools?
How satisfied are parents with the education their child(ren) is (are) receiving?
What recommendations can be offered for parents who are deciding between traditional public schools, charter schools, and private schools for their children?
Public School Teachers
What teaching strategies have been found most effective in preparing our children for higher education and future careers?
How are teachers supporting and meeting the needs of all children in their classes?
What could others in the community do to better support public school teachers?
Public School Administrators
What roles do principals (asst. principals) have in ensuring that our public schools adequately prepare our children for their future?
How has the role of the school principal (asst. principals) changed to meet the needs of every child, and to provide support for public school teachers?
What would principals (asst. principals) identify as their biggest challenge?
Public Schools & Businesses/Industry
How are the ABCD public schools and local businesses/industry partnering to address the needs of the local and regional community’s workforce? (Please provide specific examples.)
What other ways might the traditional public schools and business work together to provide a pipeline of highly qualified workers for this community?
What are the top three necessary skills that students should have when they leave?
Public Schools – General
What are the biggest challenges facing traditional public schools, and how is district ABCD prepared to address these challenges?
What is the vision for ABCD schools within the context of our local and regional community?
What myths or misperceptions about public schools can we address that may be in the minds of citizens and members of the general public who have limited exposure to traditional public schools?
How do today’s classrooms differ from our previous personal experiences?
Participant Ground Rules
1. Listen actively – respect others when they are talking.
2. Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing ("I" instead of "they," "we," and "you").
3. Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks – focus on ideas.
4. Participate to the fullest of your ability – our school district’s growth and improvement depends on the inclusion of every individual voice.
5. Share your own story and experiences, others can gain valuable insight from what you have to share.
6. The goal is not always to agree with everything mentioned in today’s discussion – it is to gain a deeper understanding.
7. Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses – they can be as disrespectful as words.