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Chapter 1
DISTRICT ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT

This chapter reviews the district organization and management of the Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (RLISD) in the following sections:

A. Governance, Policies and Procedures
B. District Management and Planning
C. Personnel Management
D. Community Involvement Initiatives

D. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT INITIATIVES

School districts must be responsive to the needs of their community, including students, parents, non-parent residents, taxpayers, businesses and other political subdivisions and political interest groups. In its Annual Synthesis, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement released in 2002, the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Families and Schools reported, "When schools, families and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer and like school more." A high level of community involvement enables districts to partner with the community to accurately and efficiently gain public input from all resident stakeholders.

FINDING

RLISD does not have an effective communication strategy for parents and community stakeholders. The only newsletter published by the district, Update, targets parents of special needs students.

A TSPR parent survey shows that a majority of parents do not feel that the district regularly communicates with them. Additionally, parents do not think district facilities are available and/or open for community use and are not aware of the district's need for volunteers to help students or to participate in various school programs. The district lacks a structured and strategic two-way communication with residents, civic organizations, businesses and area churches. Some board members who were interviewed said that it has been historically difficult to obtain input from some community segments. District newsletters or other forms of communication sent to area organizations help districts publicize important school events.

In addition, the district's Web site does not post news, board minutes, upcoming events or volunteer opportunities. Several school personnel appeared unaware of RLISD's Web site when interviewed by the review team. The district has recently made a sizable investment in technology but does not maximize its Web site to become an interactive and accessible communication medium for the community.

RLISD has relied exclusively on local newspaper coverage to promote district events and activities. The district also uses informal channels of communication, such as exist in smaller communities, to convey information and concerns on district performance or receive information.

Recommendation 7:

Develop and use multiple avenues of communication to enhance outreach to the community.

By becoming involved in the surrounding communities, the superintendent will engage stakeholders in RLISD's successes and progress. The district should use different avenues of communication including the district's Web site, a district newsletter and periodic community involvement forums.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent designates a community involvement coordinator from existing staff to handle communication responsibilities, including promoting district events and activities and soliciting input from community members. August 2003
2. The superintendent attends community meetings in Rosebud, Lott and other communities in the district to engage stakeholders and groups in the success of the district. May 2003 and Ongoing
3. The community involvement coordinator for the district establishes a Web-based method of capturing public input and markets the district Web site to stakeholders. September 2003
4. The community involvement coordinator publishes a web-based newsletter with hardcopies mailed to stakeholders who may not have computer access. October - November 2003
5. The community involvement coordinator provides timely and more diverse information in the district newsletter, as well as on the Web site. December 2003 and Ongoing

FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.