Steve Schroeder will continue as Sun Prairie School Board President, while recently reelected board member Bryn Horton is the board’s new vice president as a result of the board’s reorganizational meeting held April 26.
Carol Albright will be the board’s new clerk and Dave Hoekstra will be the new board treasurer. Tom Weber will be the board’s new Governance Officer and Deputy Clerk.
The board also held lengthy discussions about board governance and operating expectations 3 — treatment of community stakeholders, 8 — communicating with the board and 9 — communicating with the public.
Relating to Operational Expectation (OE) 3, the board also commented on a public comment received from Molly Olds, who suggested the board use surveys to measure interactions with the community.
“If an attempt to collect demographic information is also done with the survey, it would provide the district a good picture of the types of interactions they are having with the community and if there are any trends in the way different populations are treated,” Olds wrote.
“I know it is more likely for an individual with negative feedback to respond to a survey. With sending surveys to many individuals after a variety of interactions, the district would be able to show percentages of negative, positive and no response in relation to the total amount sent,” Olds added.
“This would also give the district an idea of the ratio of negative to positive/no response based on type of interaction. Please consider developing a system to measure the actual treatment of those served. I greatly appreciate your commitment to the district and the continued improvement of it,” Olds concluded.
Relating to treatment of community stakeholders, Hoekstra also said he believed the board should be non-partisan in its communications with the public. He said the policy needs to include verbiage about remaining out of politics, and focusing on sharing facts and supporting students, families and staff.
Hoekstra said he has brought up areas of communication that cross political lines, and said the district should not show any political bias because the board represents all stakeholders in the district. He said the board needs to review the policy with that in mind.
Schroeder said he appreciated the public comment. The board president said he thinks there is more that could be added into a survey, however, and that the board should consider that when reviewing the policy.
“These policies are living documents,” Schroeder added, “and they change and evolve.”
The board found the administration in compliance with exceptions on a 6-1 vote for OE 3, in compliance on OE 9 unanimously, but in compliance on OE 8 on a 4-3 vote.
In a related item, Horton wrote in a memo that the board will form a small working group consisting of three board members and the appropriate administrators to meet monthly beginning in June to discuss current student results policies, how the board can work equity into those policies, look at what data is collected as a district in addition to required state testing, and what else can be used to evaluate student progress and results.
“These meetings will continue through the summer and into the school year as the district begins its formal strategic plan refresh process beginning in Sept and finishing in February 2022,” the memo reads.
Horton proposed revisions to student results policies will be done with community feedback in mind and presented to the board to be finalized no later than the July 11, 2022, School Board meeting. The timeline allows the administration ample time to revise monitoring reports as needed to report student progress on the current timeline of November.
“Our goal would be to be able to review and assess student progress in more ways than just standardized testing given by the state and federal government,” Horton added.
Schroeder said he believed Weber should at least be part of the working group, but promised to revisit the issue at a future meeting.