This was an email sent to Seattle Public Schools School Board on August 19 regarding the question format at the upcoming public forum for the District VII Appointment:
Hello Pres. Harris and members of the School Board,
I’m writing to ask if you will consider changing the way questions are asked at the upcoming public forum. The proposed change will allow the board to center and hear more authentic voices from District 7 and to align the work more closely with the current strategic plan.
We are proposing instead of having a random grab bag of questions to prioritize questions from D7. This can be done relatively easily with a few changes. Here are some suggested changes to center D7:
- During the initial online question collection, asking for people what district they live in. Disaggregate the responses (if using Excel or another spreadsheet it is easy to do so).
- Further disaggregate to mark responses from BIPOCs. Flag the questions from African Americans since the strategic plan prioritizes these students and move them to the top of the pile. The questions from African Americans living in D7 should be asked first since this is a priority group to hear from.
- Print the different categories on different colored paper to mark the different groups, i.e. D7 African American/Black, D7 non-Black POC, D7 white or no race listed, outside of D7. This will help with sorting of questions on the night of the event
- At the event, different color notecards can be used to help differentiate D7 residents and to help prioritize their voices.
- At the forum, the D7 questions should be drawn before the general community questions.
These small shifts will demonstrate a focus on D7 and hopefully lead toward more equitable results.
SESEC can offer infrastructure support to the forum. We are able to sponsor the child care for the forum; we’ve provided child care at other events and know how to do this relatively easily. We are also open to exploring other ways we can help.
We look forward to hearing from you and supporting your selection of a new board member.