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September 08, 2017

ConnCAN Reports Results of the Citizen-Powered Board Watch Program

Board Watch Results Show Norwalk Citizens Feel Better Informed and More Engaged in Local Governance After Participating


Norwalk, CT -- On Thursday September 7, Mayor Harry Rilling, Superintendent Steven Adamowski, members of the Board of Education, and volunteers of the recently launched Board Watch program gathered at City Hall to report on the initiative and the volunteers’ evaluations and recommendations. Board Watch is a grassroots program that empowers local residents to become engaged members of their communities. It was launched by the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) in March.  Evaluation results are available at www.conncan.org/boardwatch.

“Our school boards are responsible for making decisions regarding critical city policies, including funding, teacher and administrator contracts, facilities and programs to improve student achievement. To put it simply, local school boards play a crucial role in our public education system--their decisions have a huge impact on kids and families. “ said Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN.  “We launched Board Watch to empower citizens to become more informed about and engaged in the decision making process of their school boards.”

Board Watch volunteers received training in board governance best practices and techniques to observe and evaluate school board meetings. Training included pilot volunteer evaluations of Norwalk Board of Education meetings. Last year, nine local volunteers observed 10 Norwalk Board of Education meetings. Volunteers graded each meeting, based on their trainings and rubrics. The program was made possible in part by support from the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

“Participating as a Board Watch volunteer has been a great learning experience,”  said Matt Yost, a Board Watch volunteer, lifelong resident and father of four Norwalk Public School students.  “As a member of the Norwalk community, I believe it is important to remain informed and to hold our city officials accountable for the decisions they make on behalf of our children, which will ultimately affect them and our entire state.  Since joining Board Watch, I have become more informed on city governance and hope to get others involved as well.”

Norwalk residents interested in becoming a Board Watch volunteer can visit www.conncan.org/boardwatch to receive more information and fill out an application.

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