The Bellevue School District needed an updated community engagement process that built trust and confidence in parents. A controversy surrounding equity in school fundraising demanded a process in which all interested parents could participate, and believe in. The process for the Joint BSD-PTSA School-Based Donations Advisory Committee centered on a solid application process, a scoring rubric that left subjective opinions at the door, and frequent and timely updates shared through concerned stakeholders and always available on the web site. The process refined and improved to include web site protocols for information and updates, timelines to ensure proper notice, checks to consider multiple languages and communication channels, and surveys of stakeholders to gauge effectiveness. The resulting process, adapted for broad public outreach for issues such as strategic planning, boundary review and superintendent search, became a model for other school districts, and a template for solid ways to involve the public in decisions.
In a 2013 Parent Satisfaction Survey, nearly 80% of parents responded they were ‘Highly Satisfied’ or Satisfied’ with opportunities for parent engagement.