The Best School Boards Listen

Communication, For Schools, Leadership / /

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Shani Dowell, Possip CEO & Founder, shares how Possip can help school boards listen to their parents, students, and communities.


The best school boards listen. 

School boards get a bad rap – some deserved, much undeserved.  A school board is a mash up of two things that are historically disliked – committees and politics.  So it’s a wonder that school boards can be effective as they are, when they are.

In these times of countless impossible decisions, politics at a fever pitch, the politicization of most things in education (curriculum, sick policies, staffing), school boards have a lot to navigate.

When you have people shouting from every direction, it’s tempting to put your head in the sand and ignore all of them.

At Possip we get the opportunity to work with school boards who are truly interested in the perspectives of their constituencies and communities. 

And we see the power when they listen. 


School boards can listen – with boundaries and without boundaries.  Right now the way many school boards listen is through time limited public comments from those who can make it to evening meetings – and social media in all of its echo chamber, pithy soundbite, and unrepresentative peril.  

But what if school boards could give anyone an opportunity to weigh in on a big decision, hear from as many people as possible, in their language, and not have to cap what they share.  What if school boards could also hear from them in an easy and accessible way.

Possip partners have found it helpful to have school board members bring questions to families, students, and staff that represent big decisions they are about to make.

  •       COVID planning protocols
  •       Curriculum decisions
  •       Attendance policies and calendar changes 

How do they do it? They use a surveying and feedback platform like Possip.  While there are a few surveying options (Google links work), Possip is helpful for a few reasons:

1 – They know the people taking the survey are actual parents or community members of their district

2 – they are able to get feedback in the language of their communities

3 – they can see differences by school type

4 – they can quickly get feedback from well over 25% of their population within 2 days

5 – they can get rich reporting and insights on the back end

6 – with fully text-based delivery – they can engage families without Internet or smart phone access


So ultimately it helps them make more decisions, more quickly, and less painfully.

While listening isn’t always easy, especially on hot topics that inspire passion from large groups of people, if your school board creates systems for listening, you can be more successful.

The best school boards listen.