An annual organizational workshop last week gave Pleasanton Unified School District's two new trustees a more in-depth understanding of the various protocols, roles and responsibilities involved in representing and interacting with the community at-large.
No major developments arose at the two-hour online meeting on Thursday, which included a staff presentation and board discussion, but retired teacher Mary Jo Carreon and education consultant Kelly Mokashi -- both who were sworn in to the Board of Trustees last month -- told the Weekly after the meeting that they were appreciative as board newcomers for the experience.
"I'm actually very grateful that the district is very willing to work on team building," Carreon said. "I've gone to some workshops as a new board member and they said not all school districts do this."
The administrative cabinet also went over the district work plan -- which acts as a guide for the district's goal-planning process and also provides "primary evaluation metrics" for PUSD leadership -- and five organizational goals continuing for the 2020-21 school year.
Those goals involve closing achievement gaps, improving student interventions, bolstering district policies and procedures, enhancing employee recruitment, development and retention strategies, and improving customer satisfaction and strategies for stakeholder engagement.
A subset of key objectives, key performance indicators, and specific actions are listed for each goal. For example, the top listed goal calls for PUSD to "leverage personalized learning strategies and growth assessments to close achievement and opportunity gaps, as evidenced by CAASPP, district assessments and other metrics."
Each goal also lists a subset of key objectives, key performance indicators, and specific actions to fulfill.
After several decades in the classroom, being a trustee is giving Carreon a new perspective on district matters, she said.
"When (the work plan) talks about learning, I never knew that was part of the organizational plan, so as a teacher I thought, 'why are we doing this?'" Carreon said. "Now I'm seeing how it's closely aligned to improving student achievement. I see more of a global vision."
Mokashi said she has "seen past successes of the norming process for effective team functionality," and appreciates the norming process, stating that "it will further foster open communication and dialogue amongst each other, with the district, and as a collective board."
During the meeting, Mokashi was hesitant to change email communication protocols -- "especially during the pandemic, because it is really important to be accessible to our community members" -- but said there are "some potential benefits for consistent messaging, just as long as the communication protocols still allows for each board member to communicate directly with stakeholders as well."
The board also approved updates to the PUSD governance handbook, which outlines the board's roles and responsibilities as well as protocols for situations like voting during meetings and addressing public concerns. The handbook was last updated in November 2018.
Basic revisions were made such as updating the current district demographics and adding the newest board members names on the title page, but is otherwise the same document as two years ago.
A section on PUSD governance protocols was also reformatted "to improve content flow," including titles added or moved for clarity, and a governance calendar for annual tasks such as approving course outlines and accepting audit reports was also revised.