On October 27, 2013, I have attended a school board of education meetings at ABC School. Some of the people present were the principal of the school, chairperson of the board of governors (an established legal practitioner), and two parents. There was also a representative from the District Education Office and two representatives of the local community. The two representatives from the local community were a part of public participation in the board’s decisions.
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Public input was rather valuable, as the individuals provided awareness through the distribution of pamphlets and organization of community meetings. They were the leaders in deciding what the school needs, in terms of facility maintenance and equipment. Also, they have used their connections to the building organizations to modify the gym and the cafeteria to fit more students and adhere to the highest safety standards.
The agenda of the meeting was as follows:
- The building of a new classroom.
- The building of a new theatre.
- Student participation in co-curricular activities.
- Disciplinary and Counseling issues.
- Involving learners in community service.
The chairperson began by pointing out how the school has been growing over the years. He accepted the fact that there was an urgent need to plan for the increasing number of new entrants in grade one. In the discussion that ensued, the board was of the opinion that the old store must be brought down and a new four-floor story building built at that location. The board felt that this would ease operations, as opposed to buying land in the neighborhood. The representative from the District Education Office also concurred with the arrangement.
As to the building of a new theatre, the board discussed and proposed that a modern amphitheater was the best solution. One of the parents’ representatives proposed for the school to build an amphitheater which would also offer conference facilities. He noted that the strategic location of the school would attract organizations, as the environment in the community is serene and quiet. The chairperson of the board left the matter awaiting other suggestions.
However, the board unanimously agreed on the issue of co-curricular activities. One of the parents’ representatives pointed out that the school had nurtured great talents in the past. The board agreed that apart from baseball, lawn tennis, basketball, and badminton, the school should also consider introducing other sports such as soccer, cricket, rounders, and chess, amongst a few others. The principal agreed that games complemented classroom learning. He noted that co-curricular activities help learners to release pressure from learning during the day, as well as keeps students fit and healthy.
The most important issues that the board discussed at length were disciplinary and counseling issues. The principal, speaking on behalf of his deputy, noted that there were concerns from grade 9 and grade 10 teachers. The board discussed the matter at length, noting that the problem was more of behavioral development. Participants established that strict discipline was necessary at that stage. Even so, the board recommended that the discipline part should be a joint responsibility. It was decided that the principal should convene a meeting with the staff and discuss the matter at length. The board also recognized that the school needed a new counselor. This was particularly needed, as the population was growing steadily.
Finally, the proposal to involve learners in some community service received unanimous support. All board members agreed that creating some sense of responsibility from an early age was fundamental. The board confirmed that learners from grade 8 qualified for the program. It was also decided that the games department would oversee the implementation of the community service program. This is because, by its nature, most of its operations are outdoor activities. At the end of the meeting, the two parents and community representatives were happy that the board incorporated their views into the improvement plan.