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Scott McLeod

Matt, all this is great! Perhaps what they are looking for is greater transparency regarding your CLASSROOMS, which is where the bulk of the important work regarding their children occurs?

Matt Hillmann

That's a great point, Scott. Ironically, I believe we have an even higher level of transparency in our classrooms. We are ending our fourth year of having online access to student grading and attendance. The system is used extensively and has had a positive impact all the way around. In my building (K-2) we have an increasing level of volunteering and lots of parents and grandparents are in our building for lunch. I think the highest level of transparency is when people are in the building seeing the day-to-day activities of a school. I am working with our PTO to try and develop a formal volunteer program.

Charlie A. Roy

Transparency where I work is most often tied to financial issues. People want to make sure their tuition dollars are being spent in the right way on the right things. Granted the word "right" is rather subjective but publishing the annual report with dollars and where they go goes a long way towards what most in our community consider to be transparency.

Some things families have no business knowing due to a student's right to privacy. I've had parents call and ask what was done to so and so for what they did. My answer is usually if you worry about your own kid as much as you do about so and so we can probably be assured we will have no repeats of what so an so did.


Transparency is great in terms of what we are trying to do in the classroom(s), how we are spending taxpayer money, and what we are trying to do systemically to build a better foundation for our students. Like Charlie states, however, many people like "gossip" and information that they don't need. Maintaining confidentiality of the student grades, sanctions, personnel, and such appears to many as less than transparent, or it gives off a haze of ambiguity. When a friend or aquaintance asks me about something along this line, I simply say that is a topic I don't and can't discuss. They accept it, but most (unless they have similar occupations) seem to feel there is something to "hide" if I won't talk.
You are probably looking at this type of "concern" more often than a real concern about transparency of purpose. With that, I can easily say, "get over it" to those people that are just nosey about everyone else but don't look in the mirror enough.

Doug Johnson

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the kind words.

There will always be a political faction in most communities that will complain about a lack of information no matter how well the district communicates. This due to ideology or personality conflicts - especially in the era of "no new taxes." Were people I normally consider school supporters complaining, then I would be more concerned.

Too many schools throw budget numbers out without putting them in context or some explanation. Without background, plain old numbers aren't very transparent in themselves.

Have a good one and thanks again!


Scott McLeod

As Doug notes, never, ever disseminate a chart, graph, table, figure, etc. without accompanying explanatory narrative. If you don't, others will be more than glad to interpret it for you (usually in a way you don't want!). That might happen anyway, but at least you get first shot at it!

Tina K.

School district transparency is a question of what needs to be transparent. Budget,curriculum,mission,etc. yes of course. Transparency to me feels like being able to see or know all. I don't think that is wise in all circumstances. Clarity is perhaps a better descriptor for me. How can the school district make situations clear enough to be understood.

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