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Advocating for your child

April 15, 2009

How do parents advocate for their children?

It starts with keeping informed and continues by being involved. Attend a CISD School Board meeting. Find out how the District’s plans affect your child(ren).  Listen.  Remember also that your child’s education does not end with the school day — look for enrichment opportunities at home and elsewhere that stimulate your child’s interests.  You are not alone in wanting the best education for your child.  Contact us to discuss ideas or post a comment and see if others have suggestions.

What it the process for addressing an issue at the school? Below are excerpts from the CISD Board of Trustees Operations Booklet that explain the procedure:

Addressing a Concern

If citizens wish to express themselves regarding a specific school, program, teacher, or child, dialogue should begin at the level closest to the concern. Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level.

  • Step One: Visit with teacher
  • Step Two: Visit with guidance counselor
  • Step Three: Visit with principal (If a school-wide concern, this becomes step one.)
  • Step Four: Visit with appropriate central administrator (Asst. Superintendent for Administration, Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Executive Director of Intervention Services, Director of Student Services, etc.) If the citizen is not able to resolve the concern informally, he/she may initiate a formal complaint or grievance. For specific details about this process, refer to the Board policies (GF Local) online at under the Superintendent and Board of Trustees link.

Contacting Board Members

Citizens wishing to express themselves regarding policy, finances, or other responsibilities of the Board should use one or more of these alternatives:

  • Speak during Open Forum at a School Board meeting or at a Public Forum.
  • E-mail Board members. (Board email addresses may be found on the Board of Trustees section of the District website at
  • Write a letter. (Deliver written letters to the Assistant Board Secretary at the Vonita White Administration Building for distribution.)

Note: When contacting Board members, please include first and last name, address, and phone number. Send a copy to all Board members. Duplicated letters will be read and reviewed, but because of the quantity, Board members may not be able to respond to each individual letter. The Texas Open Meetings Act precludes members from taking a position on an issue outside a public meeting. This may impede the Board’s ability to respond to concerns privately.

Addressing the Board

Persons wishing to address the Board of Trustees during Open Forum at a Monthly Business Meeting must complete an information card between 7:00-7:30 p.m. and submit it to the Assistant Board Secretary. In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Board members are not allowed to answer questions or concerns posed by individuals during Open Forum. The Board members, however, may choose to contact individual(s) following the Board meeting to discuss concerns.

  • Questions, compliments, comments, and concerns must be addressed to the Board of Trustees as a whole.
  • Up to five minutes will be allotted to each speaker.
  • Timekeeping is the responsibility of the Board Secretary.
  • Any group who wishes to speak should designate a spokesperson to address the Board.
  • Speakers are prohibited from identifying staff members by name or position and from using abusive or defamatory language or gestures.
  • Expressions of hostility, including hand-held signs or placards, and behaviors such as booing, clapping, or cheering, are also prohibited by both speakers and audience members.
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