To express an opinion via e-mail, individuals can send messages to the School Board as a whole or to individual Board members at email@example.com. To receive an e-mail response, individuals must include their full name and e-mail address. Individuals also can share their opinions by sending a letter to the School Board at the Syphax Education Center, 2110 Washington Blvd, Arlington, Virginia 22204.
Generally, School Board members will have more time to consider citizens’ positions and review any information presented if the e-mail or letter is received in the School Board office by the close of business one week before the topic is on the School Board meeting agenda. All written materials submitted by citizens to the School Board (except those that deal with personnel issues or individual students) are considered public and are available for media and public review in the School Board office. Additionally, all written School Board responses to these materials are public and are available for review.
Typically, individual e-mails and letters sent to School Board members at the School Board office are automatically copied to all members of the School Board and the Superintendent. A single response is sent by the Chair of the School Board or by an individual member if appropriate. Letters about an item on the agenda that are received after Friday are distributed at the start of the meeting. If individuals send form letters where an individual signature appears under prepared text, they should be sure there is a space to print their name and address somewhere on the letter. Without a legible address, the School Board cannot send a reply.
Petitions are automatically copied to all members of the Board and Superintendent. A single response is generally sent to the person who presented the petition.
Citizens may leave messages on voice mail for the Board or individual Board members by calling 703-228-6015. Messages should include the caller’s full name and best phone number to call back. Voicemail messages will be forwarded to the School Board or individual members, and the Superintendent, as appropriate.
Individuals should feel free to speak to individual School Board members. School Board members use their judgment about how and when to share one-on-one conversations with their colleagues.
Citizens who wish to meet with a Board member may do so during School Board Open Office Hours. A Board member is available on Mondays on a walk-in basis generally from 5 to 7 p.m. when school is in session. If Monday is a holiday or teacher work day, Open Office Hours is held the following Tuesday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Click here for a schedule and Board member assignments.
School Board members are also available to meet with small groups or individuals to discuss issues or positions by appointment. While you are welcome to meet with any of the School Board members, each school in the division is assigned a Board liaison who may be more familiar with particular issues affecting that school community. Click here to see the current School Liaison Assignments and School Board Civic Association Liaison Assignments.
Under the law, a maximum of two School Board members can meet with a group of citizens without it being considered a public meeting which requires prior advertisement. If a group wishes to talk to each of the five School Board members in a non-public setting, a minimum of three separate meetings need to be scheduled. The School Board Chair or the Clerk of the School Board can assist with the scheduling of these meetings. The School Board conference room, located in the School Board office, can be used for these meetings.
Regular School Board meetings are generally the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Syphax Education Center, 2110 Washington Blvd. Copies of the agenda are available from the School Board office the Friday before the scheduled meeting and outside the Board room two hours prior to the meeting. Citizens who wish to speak at a School Board meeting may sign up electronically after the agenda is published and up until 4 p.m. the day before the meeting. Speaker slips also are available outside the Board room on the day of the meeting.
Speakers who do not sign up electronically should complete a speaker slip and give it to the Clerk prior to Board consideration of the agenda item on which they wish to comment. Time is also provided at the beginning of each meeting for citizen comment on non-agenda items. Speakers on non-agenda items should also complete and submit a speaker slip to the Clerk prior to consideration of non-agenda items. Each speaker is allowed up to two minutes to speak on agenda or non-agenda items, but the Chair may reduce the amount of speaking time if an unusually large number of citizens sign up to speak about a particular matter. Please review the School Board adopted School Board Guidelines for Public Comment to help prepare to speak at a School Board meeting.
Regular School Board meetings are broadcast live on Verizon Channel 70 and FIOS channel 41 and rerun the following Friday at 9 p.m. and the following Monday at 7:30 p.m. Citizens may also download the broadcast from the web site during the meetings by visiting Watch School Board Meetings. The Superintendent of Schools prepares the proposed agenda items for the consideration of the Chair of the School Board prior to each School Board meeting.
The agenda of every regular meeting is approved by the School Board Chair. Generally, a School Board member desiring to add additional items to the proposed agenda must submit the additions to the Chair in advance of the meeting. Items may be added to the agenda if two or more School Board members so request. Board members also may defer any item for which all relevant information has not been prepared or provided in advance. Agenda materials for upcoming School Board meetings are available for public review in the School Board office by the Monday before the scheduled meetings. Meeting materials are generally posted by the close of business on Fridays before the scheduled meetings.