Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods proposed a statewide package of measures to increase transparency between schools and communities, ensuring parents have meaningful access to information about what their children are learning while reducing duplication and redundancy that leads to additional testing and instructional programs for teachers to implement.
The State Board of Education approved Superintendent Woods’ recommendation to initiate rulemaking procedures on a state board rule that would require local school districts to:
- Adopt a local policy to increase transparency with parents and the community
- Ensure parental access to their child’s education record
- Publicly post (and maintain posting of) the school district’s annual operating budget
- Annually report local formative assessments and curriculum and instructional materials
- Provide for public review, board approval, and parental inspection of surveys for research projects, grants, or by third-party providers
Each school district would annually report to the Georgia Department of Education all formal curriculum programs used in classrooms, formative assessments, and surveys administered to students at the school or district level. GaDOE would then create a dashboard to provide a simple way for the public to access the information.
“Public schools are a public good,” Superintendent Woods said. “Not only does this package of measures strengthen the partnership between schools and their communities, it also forms the foundation of a parental bill of rights – legislation I look forward to working with Governor Kemp to get passed this legislative session.”
Additionally, the reporting of curriculum programs and formative tools is intended to reduce duplication and redundancy – and to assist school districts in reducing the testing burden on teachers and students as they inventory, identify, and streamline redundant formative assessment requirements.
“We cannot keep adding to teachers’ plates,” Superintendent Woods said. “Instead of continuing to add new programming without evaluating what we’re already asking of our educators and students, these reporting requirements would provide a resource for school districts to inventory, align, and reduce redundant instructional programs and tests. This is an essential step, along with teacher raises and the full funding of public education, to keeping our talented educators in the classroom.”
The proposed board rule will be posted for 30 days of public comment, with a vote on adoption scheduled for the board’s February regular meeting.
How Bulloch BOE is complying to the state’s measures to increase transparency
“The recommendation of these measures makes complete sense, and our school district certainly supports State Superintendent Richard Woods and the State Board of Education in their efforts to increase and improve standards for transparency across the state’s public schools. Our school district already complies with all of the items listed. The school district has not yet received information from the state as to any specific detailed requirements, but if there are any necessary tweaks to our current practices, we will work to quickly make adjustments to ensure accurate and timely information on the public dashboard the state plans to provide.”Hayley Greene, CCC
Public Relations Director, Bulloch County Schools
- As a unit of state and local government we serve the public and adhere to all laws and state board rules as to maintaining records and public access to information. Our Board has a policy for this. If the state board implements additional requirements, our Board will respond accordingly.
- Our school district’s strategic plan includes a directive to “increase stakeholder access to information through various social media platforms, electronic messaging, Internet applications, and websites.” (Strategic Goal Area II – Stakeholder and Community Support 1.3)
- Parents have access to their child’s education record. We provide a digital tool, Campus Parent and Campus Student that gives students and parents 24-hour access to student information and push notifications regarding a student’s transcript, attendance, course schedule, assignments, grades, demographic, and household information.
- Custodial parents have access to their child’s education records. This is communicated to parents and students annually in the Bulloch County Schools Student Handbook in our Mandatory Notification of Student & Parent Rights.
- Publicly post (and maintain posting of) the school district’s annual operating budget. Our school district’s annual operating budget, audits, and E-SPLOST reports are all available on our website.
- Annually report local formative assessments and curriculum and instructional materials. Our district and schools communicate information about formative assessments, and parents are provided opportunities to review curriculum and instructional materials prior to local textbook adoptions or new instructional programs, like the Sexuality Education and Human Trafficking programs we have recently begun providing.
- Provide for public review, board approval, and parental inspection of surveys for research projects, grants, or by third-party providers. Bulloch County Schools has a research protocol in place to ensure proper practices are followed for research requests by outside entities. For formal surveys that the school district performs, we only conduct the Georgia Student Health Survey as part of the Georgia School Climate Star program. We annually notify parents of this practice in the Parent/Guardian & Student Notices & Affirmation Form that we provide to parents annually, and in the Georgia Climate Star information on our website.