Colorado Association of School Boards

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Community Engagement Service

For member resources and tools on community engagement, visit our Community Engagement webpage.

What is community engagement?

Simply put, community engagement is the process of involving people in decisions that affect them. A well-planned process can result in a common vision and shared responsibility for educating students in the school district.

School boards’ decisions are more richly informed when the public weighs in. As leaders listen to community members’ questions and concerns, they can better determine public support for an issue, areas in need of more clarity, tradeoffs and potential solutions.

For citizens, community engagement can help them better understand the tough choices confronting school boards, and provide input into those decisions early on.

Community engagement is:

  • A two-way dialogue that can lead to a shared sense of direction, responsibility and resources for decisions affecting public schools
  • A long-term effort to identify a community’s perspectives and questions about key issues
  • A means of helping citizens understand the issues confronting their community and to have a voice in their resolution

Community engagement is not:

  • A strategy for swaying public opinion under the pretense of “community dialogue”
  • A public relations campaign that has a predetermined end
  • An initiative to sell ideas to the community to win its approval

Community engagement takes place in a variety of ways, but successful efforts involve opportunities for everyday people to talk about education issues of community-wide importance. Often these conversations take place over time, giving participants time to study, process and weigh the tradeoffs of different outcomes.  At the end of a conversation, further exploration of an issue may be needed, group recommendations may be submitted or changes in policy and practice may be adopted.

The CASB community engagement philosophy

We believe that the public schools belong to the communities they serve, making community engagement essential to a healthy and thriving school system.  We also believe that community engagement is an essential role of the school board, as the board is the elected representative of the larger community.  Since no two communities are alike, how a board engages its community may look different from community to community.

CASB’s community engagement service options

CASB offers a wide range of community engagement services to school districts including community engagement workshops, community engagement plan design, issues framing, dialogue facilitation, tools development and moderator training. Our goal is to equip the board with the skills and tools it needs to successfully engage its community without long-term reliance on outside consultants.  Our service is unique to each school district client, and our fees are calculated on a daily rate basis, based on the student population of the school district.

For more information, contact Wendy Meyer, director of communications.