You can build a stronger community, a little at a time. Here’s three things you can do this week, public parks edition.
1: Something to Talk About: School Boards
There are 15 school boards in Yellowstone County. Local school boards have responsibility for goal setting, policymaking, community involvement and oversight of administrative aspects for their individual school districts. Their most important responsibility is to work with their communities to improve student achievement in their local public schools. School boards derive their power and authority from the state. In compliance with state and federal laws, school boards establish policies and regulations by which their local schools are governed.
Some of the key responsibilities of a school board include:
- Employing the superintendent,
- Developing and adopting policies, curriculum, and the budget,
- Overseeing facilities issues, and
- Adopting collective bargaining agreements.
Education policy impacts everyone in the community, not only parents and students. A 2022 Gallup poll showed that across the United States there was a significant dissatisfaction with K-12 education. But a closer look at just the parents of children in schools, showed they were largely satisfied with their own children’s education.
2: Something to Do: Talk to Teachers, Talk to the Board
Start a conversation this week with your friends or neighbors about what they think are some of the top issues faced by schools in your neighborhood. It goes without saying that parents are busy people, and likely already deeply involved in their children’s current education, so try to include at least one in your chats.
If you have a child in school, reach out to their teachers this week by email or in person and share some feedback on how you think your child is doing so far this year. Of course we communicate when we need something changed, but it’s just as important to share positive observations to let educators know they’re on the right track.
3: Something to Join
Just a reminder, there is no Central Committee meeting this month.
Billings School Board is holding their regular meeting on Monday, December 18 at 5:30pm both in person at the Lincoln Center, and by remote access on the Comm7tv.com website, in which they’ll be discussing several interesting matters of business.
Go prepared and review the agenda before you go. This week, they’re considering some policy updates that may be of interest to residents in the district. Public comment is held before the regular agenda items, so if you want to speak, you’ll need to sign up to make a comment before the meeting starts.
Also this week, in addition to the Democratic Social Club’s Monday coffee and the weekly Democratic Breakfast Study Club, the Billings City Council and Yellowstone County Commissioners are holding their regular meetings, as well as a variety of city community boards and neighborhood task forces.
Check out the 3 Things calendar for times, locations and agendas of what’s going on this week.
When you find a board or group that interests you, it’s good practice to read up on some basic Roberts Rules of Order, as well as the meeting agenda. Then observe how the meeting proceeds a few times to determine how you’d like to get more involved.
This is part of our weekly newsletter, “3 Things You Can Do” to help you build a stronger community through information on issues and opportunities to create connection in your neighborhood, on your own time. Each newsletter includes:
- Something to talk about: facts about a topic or issue that impacts our local community
- Something to do: a prompt for a small gesture to get out and connect with your family, friends and neighbors
- Something to join: opportunities to participate or lead in your local community