Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Communications
March 3, 2008
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

Communications Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Beth Moss at 5 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Board Members: Beth Moss, Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza

Citizen Members: Deb Anken-Dyer, Deb Gurke, Dale Holmen and Wayne Strong





STAFF PRESENT: Pam Nash, Ken Syke, Elizabeth Contrucci-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Beth Moss and seconded by Dale Holmen to approve the minutes of the Communications Committee meeting dated February 11, 2008. It was noted that the time of arrival at this meeting for Deb Anken-Dyer and Dale Holmen should reflect their arrival at

5:04 p.m. and not 4:04 p.m. Minutes, as amended, were unanimously by those present.

2. Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Techniques to Share Information and Receive Feedback

(Written materials provided in advance: Techniques to Share Information and Receive Feedback based on International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Spectrum of Public participation, excerpts from 2006 and 2007 International Association for Public Participation - both attached to the original of these minutes.)

Beth Moss thanked Deb Gurke for sharing a synopsis of goals and example techniques to encourage public participation and a toolbox of techniques to share information and receive feedback from the public. Ms. Moss pointed out the need to concentrate on the Inform, Consult, and Involve part of the grid and asked committee members what they thought of the tool, how the three purposes could be used to engage the public, how to define who the public is, how to involve the public and how to fit all the issues into the grid.


Many of these things are already being done.

Need to decide earlier, particularly for issues such as boundary changes, to give all voices an opportunity to be heard.

Need clear goals so we have a set of techniques to involve more people and bring other voices in.

Helps to bring people together for conversations and dialogue versus advocacy where someone tends to feel they have lost.

May help to build relationships.

Using multiple methods so that it addresses what could go wrong.

Lots of good techniques to bring people together.


Do we have a plan if something goes wrong: boundary issues?

Can we put a list together (sequence of things we do to get info to parents/people)?

Are there things we can do to spread the word? It is okay to duplicate the message.

Could we extend the time so they can take a broader picture? Format should be driven by purpose. Need a number of choices and indication of what purpose they meet.

Beth Moss asked members to state which techniques they liked from the grids they received in their packet.


Lots of good techniques to bring people together.

Easier to access a chart.

Skilled moderator or paid facilitator. How would we do that? (Carol Carstensen: In the past the board has done this for major issues. People within the district are trained and willing to volunteer.)

Hard to look at in abstract. Would need to prioritize items that we would want input on and then pick out the tools. Could not do this on everything.

Could pick out the types of issues that a tool like this would be good for, i.e., boundary issues.

Could be difficult to get things done as the Board of Education trying to apply these techniques to all decisions.

Takes time to solicit from the public and then sort through the information.

Use issues that come up year after year.

Could have a matrix for issues that come up that would fit.


Beth Moss will work with Ken Syke to develop a sample grid for the committee to review.

5. Gathering Community Input for High School Redesign

(Written materials provided in advance: memorandum from Pam Nash dated 2/28/08 re: gathering community input for high school redesign. A copy is attached to the original of these minutes.)

Pam Nash reviewed the information presented in the written materials. She noted a Microsoft product was used to develop student "personas" that are modeled after real people but are actually a compilation of many individuals. These "personas" provide a profile of a wide range of students. In her conversations, Ms. Nash found that people often have a personal viewpoint and set agenda of what high school has done for them, or their child. The purpose for using this design process was to get a broad range of viewpoints so that the needs of all students are met by the High School Redesign.

Ms. Moss noted the committee's task is to bridge the needs of all students and reach out to all kinds of people including, the University of Wisconsin, MATC, and Edgewood; SHRAC (Superintendent's Human Relations Advisory Committee); neighborhood centers; staff in the medical field, particularly mental health; and students. The Police Department and Mayor's Office are holding community information meetings to attempt to determine which neighborhoods are beginning to show more needs for services. School and community information sessions could be helpful.

Ms. Nash will review progress of the Innovation Team after spring break. It is planned to begin with United Way in late April/early May and then spread out the process over the next five to six months.

6. Establishment of a Parent Group Communications Liaison

Beth Moss proposed that schools select an individual who would be the main contact for receiving information. There was discussion about how the liaisons would receive information from the district and how the decision would be made about what is important.


At a minimum publicize the Board of Education agenda.

Good idea. Useful to get ideas out.

Identified person could at least be a source of information.

Encourage people to come or watch meetings.

Liaison could provide information when there are issues and would know the best way to get input to or receive it from the school community.

Good source of teaching for working with the BOE.

Formerly had PCAC which included a representative from every school and met once a month during the day for Q A with the Superintendent. Could do the same with the BOE. Discontinued, but maybe the model could be modified, e.g., meetings in the evening - every other month. (New superintendent does something like this.)

As a next Step, Beth Moss will draft a letter to parent groups.

7. Other Business

There was no other business.

8. Adjournment

It was moved by Carol Carstensen and seconded by Wayne Strong to adjourn the meeting at 5:58 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.