Newest Pasco School Board member calls for improved communication with parents
In her first notable foray into school district politics a year ago, Colleen Beaudoin took on Pine View Middle School's aggressive attempt to adopt and implement a new curriculum and calendar with minimal parental input.
She convinced the school's leadership to slow down and listen to concerns, which in turn got her interested in running for School Board. Unopposed in her bid to replace retiring District 2 board member Joanne Hurley, Beaudoin looks to that 2015 experience as she formulates her approach to the job.
"My biggest thing is communication," said Beaudoin, who will take the oath of office in November. "I'd like to see improved communication from our school leaders to parents and the community."
She noted the district's headfirst dive into Twitter and Facebook, and suggested it's simply not enough to get information out there.
"I feel like our primary mode of communication should not be social media. I feel like if I'm not on social media, I'm missing something," Beaudoin said.
Email, newsletters, phone calls and other forms of outreach need to be more widely used, she continued, in order to ensure as many people as possible get the messages that the schools and district are sending. Connecting a letter to a report card seems like an easy one, for instance, because nearly every parent pays attention to report cards.
Not all families submit their email addresses or phone numbers, though, but that does not absolve the district from working to inform them, she said.
"When people get upset and frustrated, it's because we don't know what's going on," Beaudoin said. "There are things in place we can use that I don't think are being used consistently."
Beaudoin is not the first school district official to call for better communication. Both the current and past superintendent have talked about the need, as has incumbent board member Alison Crumbley, who also won election unopposed this summer.
District communication director Linda Cobbe said her office is looking at new ways to bolster efforts at the school and district level.