3 minute read

I made some remarks to the LPAS PTA today regarding encouraging access and diverse representation within school groups like the SBDM and PTA - which I think we need to work on, given the makeup of the groups I’ve seen at LPAS so far.

Frankly speaking, PTAs and school council leadership are often lopsided representations of the communities they represent. Too white, too female, too affluent, people who cannot spare the time to travel, etc. I believe the leadership of these groups need to craft policies, procedures to encourage involvement by those NOT represented in their ranks. That’s the goal.

Work on it! Here’s some notes on what I’ve seen be successful PLUS a note about the upcoming SBDM Parent Representative elections.


Thank you all for having me - and thank you all for your time and hard work for our students.

My name is Ben Wilson. I’m a father of two LPAS students, one former, one current. Currently, I’m one of two parent representatives on the LPAS SBDM Council - and the coach of our 50+ student cross country team.

I wanted to bring a topic to the PTA Board and membership today that I feel strongly about and - in my own limited way - have tried to promote through my volunteer work at LPAS: diverse access and engagement.

Rethinking Diversity + Access to Parent Organizations

First, I want to take a moment to encourage all parent-represented organizations (small and large) to consider new ways in which they can better represent our increasingly diverse LPAS community. Diversity includes race, but goes well beyond it in a JCPS school to include geographic, socio-economic, gender, access to transportation, etc.

As a magnet, we have a special community - and we are especially diverse by design - pulling committed, passionate families from all over the country. However, I believe our elected councils - both SBDM and PTA - and other teams & groups have work to do to represent the diversity in our community.

In my current roles as parent rep and coach, I have been focused on representing and engaging as many people in our community as possible - to varying degrees of success. I wanted to share the practical things that I have found work to encourage diverse engagement:

  • Equitable meeting times + access options (online)
  • Use of broadly accessible platforms for communication (email, text, SchoolCNXT)
  • Open feedback (surveys)
  • Volunteer opportunities big and small
  • Ensuring open access to elections or leadership roles
  • Outreach beyond our “friend networks”

As a practical example - it is only online meetings and the flexibility of my employer that have allowed me to be present in meetings and serve on councils that meet during my 9-to-5 workday. I was not able to do this effectively prior to the adoption of these tools and a focus on accessible technology.

Diverse engagement and access is real work and a goal that you will never perfectly achieve - but I believe that LPAS’ incredibly diverse, incredibly committed community is what makes it special. When the community works, we do amazing things for our students.

I would encourage the PTA board, members and families to consider this, and think differently to affect change, using the practical notes above.

SBDM Elections

SBDM Elections are coming up in September! The SBDM is one of the most important bodies in a local school. We choose principals, advise on hiring of other positions, set school policies and approve budgets. This year, the PTA will help to elect a new two-year parent representative position.

Per LPAS’ policy, the PTA organizes the elections for parent representatives on the SBDM. In the past, these elections were required by the KY Dept of Ed to take place in-person. At LPAS, these elections were held during a one-time after-school function like the Open House.

This practice, I believe, harmed the diversity of the past councils.

Luckily, the KY Dept of Education now allows online and in-person voting, over multiple days - similar to the elections that were held last year under “COVID” rules.

With that, I would like to ask the PTA to recreate the process they ran last year - but to also consider the points I made earlier regarding access. Finally - I would encourage ANY parent to run to be a parent representative.