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COMMITTEE PLANNING

Q:What are the most important topics our
Citizens Advisory Council should focus on this year?


Every year, Oklahoma’s Norman Public Schools encourages public participation in education by bringing together a 25-member Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), whose members serve as liaisons between the district and community.

District leadership representatives attend CAC meetings and update the council on what’s happening in the district. And planning the most relevant content for those meetings is frequently a challenge.

“We really felt there was a need to find out what they wanted to learn, and what they wanted to have input on,” says Dr. Shirley Simmons, Norman’s Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “So, we did a Thoughtexchange with them at their very first meeting this year.”

After running an exchange live at the CAC’s inaugural meeting, the Norman team took away some surprising insights into the needs and opinions of their CAC.

“We got a wide variety of topics they wanted to learn about, and it was interesting because there were some things in there that we didn’t expect,” Dr. Simmons explains. “We realized we needed to clarify some things with our public about a variety of topics, like technology and safety.”

Through their live exchange, Dr. Simmons and the Norman team learned that these were not only topics they needed to address with their CAC, but also more broadly with the community as a whole.

“So, Thoughtexchange was really helpful,” she says. “It was very insightful to have that. Our chief operating officer who runs that group developed a prioritized list of key topics that he has been able to schedule out over the school year.”

“We got a wide variety of topics they wanted to learn about, and it was interesting because there were some things in there that we didn’t expect.”Dr. Shirley Simmons,
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services

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