How AUSD’s board stays transparent

Sometimes it can be hard to picture a sophomore in high school understanding local politics. The formalities and unspoken codes of conduct can allude to an almost elitist sense of not belonging and lack of community. 

However, despite being a sophomore at Alameda High School, I feel I can figure my way around any given board meeting: don’t bounce your leg underneath the desk, only talk when acknowledged by the board president and, of course, always say thank you when you’re finished asking a question. 

These are things I am learning as the Student Representative from Alameda High School to the Alameda Unified School District  (AUSD) Board of Education. As there is no written rule book on etiquette in the City Hall chambers, I must never improvise but follow the example of other board members. 

Despite the intricacies of the formal board meeting, this board of education is doing things sleeker and younger to appeal to all generations. As anyone who may walk into a board meeting while it is in session may notice, there aren’t many people there. But, this has not impeded the district’s ability to connect with the Alameda community. 

For example, the Senior Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Kerri Lonergan, will greet all attendees of the public with a smile and nod followed by the sincerest, “How are you?” I have ever heard. She also works tirelessly to make sure all meeting minutes are made transparent and the archives of past meetings kept up to date. 

The amazing city and district staff work in tandem to broadcast the board meetings live as a way of reaching a wider audience. 

In addition, the phenomenal work of Susan Davis, AUSD’s community manager can not be overstated. During the course of the school board meetings she will live tweet all the happenings of the meeting with due diligence and efficiency. 

It’s not uncommon to hear concerns with the lack of attendance at board meetings as there can be hardly anyone in the room, but I would argue that technology is taking us away from traditional in-person attendance to a wider digital footprint. 

I am satisfied with the direction the AUSD Board of Education is taking to be as transparent as possible in the new landscape of digital records.


Henry Mills