As candidates, we want to see better communication between the board, the administration, and residents. This needs to go far beyond the public comment period at school board meetings. If elected, we would use strategies such as town halls, surveys, and focus groups.
When the pandemic hit, many school districts in the county used these types of strategies to solicit parent input on school reopening plans. Families in these other districts were asked about technology use, hybrid schedules, expectations for virtual learning, etc. Parent input was requested PRIOR to devising the implementation of each educational option. We recognize that conditions were rapidly changing during the summer of 2020, and planning several months in advance was a difficult prospect. SASD did offer a survey asking parents about their choice for in-person vs. online, but it was for their own planning purposes and after they outlined the two options (five-day in-person or full-time virtual) being offered for the 2020-2021 school year.  SASD families were left out of the planning process and unable to give valuable insight as to what might work best for their families.
Currently, communications from the District are provided primarily by email to parents and guardians of enrolled SASD students. The website is not kept up-to-date, and it is difficult to find information, such as attendance procedures, bell schedules, and school board meeting virtual links, that is relevant to families on a day-to-day basis.  The website is not overly mobile-friendly, and in particular, the calendar is nearly impossible to use on a small screen.  Additionally, it is impossible to look up contact information for staff members based on their role and building, such as “who is the Nurse at IVMS”. Residents who are not current SASD families should be able to find information about what is going on in our schools and the relevant issues being discussed at school board meetings more easily. The school is a central part of our community and should reach out to all community members.
We can improve communication by holding regular town hall meetings and asking for parent input as part of the decision-making process. We can work to improve and keep the website more up-to-date and more mobile-friendly. School Board meetings should be better publicized and videos of meetings should be kept for longer than 30 days so that SASD families and all community members can feel better connected to our District.
 July 13, 2020 email to parents from Frank Gallagher
 For example: https://vernfield.soudertonsd.org/calendar