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Bend-La Pine School Board launches leadership listening sessions

Bend-La Pine Schools

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors is pleased to announce the launch of a new, additional forum for community voices to be heard: Board Leadership Listening Sessions. The first of these Board Leadership Listening Sessions events will take place Thursday, July 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  in Bend’s Silver Rail Elementary School gymnasium.

Hosted by Board Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia and Vice-Chair Marcus LeGrand, Board Leadership Listening Sessions will allow community members the chance to connect with the board on a broader level than they can during a typical board business meeting when public comment is largely reserved for agenda items. Speakers will be called in order in which they signed up.

“July 13 marked our return to in-person board meetings, following more than a year of virtual engagement,” said Barnes Dholakia. “The volume of interest by our stakeholders to share their thoughts, concerns, and kudos - in person - is remarkable. It is our hope that this listening session, which includes a large venue, evening start and opportunity for conversation, will be convenient for potential participants and provide an environment for us to learn more from our parents, staff, students and community members.”

Board Leadership Listening Sessions are intended to further the Board’s commitment to elevate voices from across the communities served by Bend-La Pine Schools and to inform priorities to affirm and inspire each and every student in our district to have the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond. 

Barnes Dholakia and LeGrand will share what they learn with other board members and members of Bend-La Pine Schools’ leadership team.

To learn more about the Board Leadership Listening Session, including how to sign up to speak, visit the Board of Directors webpage. (Those who need assistance filling out the form can contact the Board Clerk at 541-355-1017.)

American Sign Language and Spanish interpretation will be available on site. If additional interpretation is required, please notify the Board Clerk at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting start. 

About Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors
Seven community members make up the Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors. Registered voters elect board members for terms of four years. The school board has governance responsibilities in four areas: vision, accountability, policy, and advocacy. The school board believes that effective public school education must be directed toward the common needs of all children and must also consider the unique differences and needs of individual students.    

Public Comment
Positive feedback, questions, or concerns may be brought to the school board’s attention through multiple channels; public comment at the Board’s business meetings or Listening Sessions; electronic message submission through the Board’s Listening Post, which is an electronic communication directly to the full board and superintendent; and via postal mail to the school board at 520 NW Wall Street, Bend, Oregon, 97703.

Meetings
Regular Board Meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of each month. Here, regular business is completed, actions are taken and public comment is received. These meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and take place at the district’s Education Center, 520 NW Wall Street, Bend unless otherwise noticed. Doors open to the public 20-minutes before the meeting starts. The Board of Directors’ business meetings are available via an online livestream.

Work Sessions are typically held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Here, the Board will engage with fellow directors and district staff in a discussion of Board work and initiatives.  These meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and take place at the district’s Education Center, 520 NW Wall Street, Bend unless otherwise noticed. Doors open to the public 20 minutes before the meeting starts.

Executive Sessions may be called to meet in executive session or decide to go into executive session at any time during a regular, special, or emergency meeting to discuss certain matters. By Oregon law, the chair may call a board into executive session without a vote of the board; however, in some districts, local policy may require such a vote. Executive sessions are closed to the public.

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