How to Speak to Your School Board
How to find your school board calendar and key dates
Find your official school district website. Find the link to the school board website. If you can’t find it, put the name of your school district and “school board” in a search engine. The calendar should always be on the school district’s website.
How to register to speak at a school board meeting
At the school board website, look for “Citizen Participation” or a similar option. Once you select this option, you will see a button or link to “Register to Speak at Regular School Board meeting” or something along those lines.
You may be able to submit a video testimony – but if this option exists, you’ll usually need to sign up several days in advance. Find out what the deadline is! Some districts have a designated time when speaker registration opens – it depends on the system, but might be early, like 6 a.m. Speaking spots can fill up in seconds, so keep an eye on when registration opens, set your alarm, and claim your spot!
Speaking slots are usually limited to a certain length of time (for example, three minutes). Make sure you hit the mark with time to spare. You don’t want to get cut off mid-sentence.
How to talk to your school board
Communicate clearly and directly with your school board members. Tell your story. Establish who you are, and why you care. Let them know that you’re a neighbor. Be prepared. You will not have time to decide what to say once your time starts. Have a prepared statement to speak from. If you are speaking online and want to read your testimony, put it up on your video screen and read from the screen so your eyes are still in the direction of the camera, not looking down at a piece of paper.
You’ll do great. Remember: just showing up is a victory!
Questions to ask school officials (school board, superintendent, principal, etc.)
- What are the upcoming issues your school board will be debating and discussing?
- How will information about XYZ issues be communicated to the public?
- When will public engagement sessions be and how will those be communicated?
- How was this policy determined to be in the best interest of our students?
- How do I opt out my student from this topic/lesson/project?
- How much was consultant XYZ paid? Where can I see their contract?
- Where and how will school board meeting minutes be shared?
Model Letter to School Board, Civics Alliance