Falmouth School Committee/Superintendent Operating Protocols

  • As elected members of the Falmouth School Committee, we, including the Superintendent, accept the high honor and trust that has been placed in us to ensure that the Falmouth Public Schools educate students so that they are engaged in their education in a way which develops their capacity to pursue their goals and fosters life-long learning.  To that end, we hereby publicly commit, collectively and individually, to the following operating protocols.  We shall…

    IN OUR OPERATIONS:

    1. Represent the needs, interests, and achievement of ALL students in the district and place these above all else in the decisions we make.
    2. Honor the School Committee’s policy on “The People and Their School District”, which recognizes our roles and obligations as elected members of the community, remembering that we represent the entire community at all times.
    3. Exercise leadership in vision, planning, policymaking, evaluation, accountability, and advocacy on behalf of the students and district while respecting the authority of the superintendent and district staff to manage day-to-day operations.
    4. Acknowledge that a School Committee meeting is a business meeting of the School Committee that is held in public-not a public meeting.
    5. Make every effort to ensure meetings are effective and efficient by being well-prepared and conducting district business through a set agenda, with emerging items addressed in subsequent meetings through agenda items.
    6. Accept the office of Committee member as unselfish service to the community and agree that our positions shall not be used for personal or partisan gain.
    7. Operate respectfully and in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Meeting Law in deliberations on which public policy is based while maintaining operational and executive session confidentiality.
    8. Honor the policy on Evaluation of School Committee Operational Procedures by striving for continual improvement and evaluating our performance.

    IN OUR COMMUNICATIONS:

    1. Set the tone for the entire system and make every effort to promote a positive image for our school system.
    2. Work to build trust between and among School Committee members, the Superintendent, and the school and town administration by treating everyone with dignity and respect, even in times of disagreement by maintaining an open environment where each member, the Superintendent, and the public is empowered to freely express opinions, concerns, and ideas.
    3. Strive to avoid ‘surprises’ for the Committee or Superintendent at School Committee meetings.
    4. When not in a scheduled meeting, channel questions, concerns, and requests for information/data through the School Committee Chair and Superintendent, rather than directly to district staff.

    IN OUR DECISION MAKING:

    1. Keep an open mind and strive to make decisions by consensus using the best information available at the time, considering available facts, research, best practice, public input, and the Superintendent’s and other members’ recommendations, proposals, and suggestions.
    2. Engage in critical thinking, expecting all Committee members to freely offer differing points of view as part of the discussion, prior to making a board decision.
    3. Recognize and respect our authority exists only when a quorum of the Committee meets and is derived only through a majority decision of the Committee acting as a whole during an open, public meeting.
    4. Accept that individual members do not have authority, will not take unilateral action, and when attending meetings, boards, or acting as a liaison from the School Committee, will only speak as individuals and not for the committee except when reporting a decision of the majority.

    These protocols are to be reviewed and signed yearly at the first meeting following the spring election, and/or whenever a new committee member or superintendent begins their term of service.