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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Communication and the community

As leaves begin to change color and gently fall to the ground, we notice that the days are getting shorter and the mornings are turning crisp.Fall is a time for football, homecomings and the first snow of the year. In a school district, itís also time to begin preparing report cards as the first quarter draws to a close.Iíd like to take this opportunity to report about a few of things we are doing to communicate with you. Whether youíve got a child or grandkid in one of our schools, children who will attend in the next year or two, or drive by our schools on your way to work, we have a duty to communicate with you.A school district is an extension of the community, reflecting the values of families and individuals that make up the community it helps to educate. Like you, in District 49 we value efficiency and smart-decision making based on measured data and accurate projections about the future.Whether we are talking about decisions made in the boardroom or the learning that takes place in the classroom, my team and I have a commitment to make sure that finding information about your school district is available and easy to find.You may recall from news stories over the past month that a neighboring school district was taken to task by some of its residents for not being transparent.Specifically, the complaints are around accessibility to Board of Education meetings, including the availability of documents and the ability of people not in attendance at meetings to participate.When the large regional newspaper contacted me for the story they were working on regarding our next-door neighbor, I was proud to let them know that the documents the District 49 Board of Education uses to make decisions are readily available at D49.org/BOE. I was proud to let them know that the agendas and minutes of the meetings are available, too, and that they are archived for easy review.I was informed that our neighbor was planning, and ultimately elected, to earmark some $10,000 to begin recording its board meetings. I was proud to let the reporter know that District 49 has been live streaming, and archiving video feeds of board meetings for more than a year and a half ñ- and that we stream our meetings for free, using social media sites and YouTube.We use cameras that we also use to cover the hard work and frequent successes our students and staff have in the classroom ñ- putting our investment to live stream board meetings ñ- making it possible to attend District 49 Board of Education meetings from the comfort of your home ñ- at zero dollars.I was proud to let the reporter know about the steps we take to make information about the decisions your elected representatives make readily available and easy to find. That said, weíre a large district with a lot of information to share, so sometimes finding what you need isnít as easy as Iíd like it to be.When youíre on D49.org, youíll notice that weíre ready to chat with you to help you find what you need or answer any questions you might have. Look for the live chat feature in the bottom corner on any page of our website.As the director of communications, Iíve had the pleasure to serve you in an organization committed to building and maintaining trust with the community we serve and represent.That commitment continues as fall turns to winter and snow begins to fly. Whether on our website, social media pages, email, text, or through the local news; weíre committed to being transparent in our weather closure and delay decision-making process. Itís just a small example of a larger commitment.Before the snow begins, enjoy another walk in the grass at one of our schools. Attend one of our football or volleyball games. Visit D49.org to learn about your school district, the best choice to learn, work, and lead.

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