Press-Republican

Local News

November 4, 2012

City Schools look to Internet to facilitate conversation

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School District is looking at using an online message board to address the questions and concerns of the local community. 

Members of the School Board and District Superintendent James “Jake” Short met recently with faculty from SUNY Plattsburgh’s Department of Communication Studies, who suggested that a web-based dialogue with district residents might be beneficial. 

Over the past several weeks, the board has been discussing ways to foster more open communication with the community and approached the college’s communications professionals for advice. 

FORUM DISCOURAGED

At a previous School Board meeting, Short brought forth the idea of hosting a forum at which board members could publicly answer questions emailed to them in advance by district residents. 

The college faculty, however, advised against this concept, Short told attendees at a recent School Board meeting. 

“The suggestion was to not do the forum, per se, but to get more into the web-based presence of question-and-answer dialogue,” he said.

A physical forum, Short noted, would be limiting in the sense that it would only address issues on the minds of people at the time of the event. 

“The web presence as a question-and-answer dialogue forum seems to have better juice behind it because it can be ongoing, people can look back at a topic from the past that may be relevant to them at the time ... and folks can do this at their own time, in their own place.

“So that’s the direction that we’re going to be expanding ourselves to.”

SITE SUGGESTED

While the exact details of how the online conversation will work have not yet been established, Short indicated that access to an online message board, where district officials and residents could respond to inquiries posted by the public, could possibly be made available through the district’s website: plattscsd.org. 

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