How Request-to-Speak Systems are Used in School Board Meetings

Fostering meaningful participation and dialogue is essential for effective decision-making. School board meetings serve as vital forums where community members, educators, and stakeholders come together to discuss important issues impacting students and schools.

To facilitate organized and inclusive discussions, many school boards are turning to request-to-speak systems. Let’s explore how request-to-speak (RTS) systems work and their benefits.

What are Request-to-Speak Systems?

A request-to-speak system is a technology solution designed to manage speaker queues during meetings. It allows participants to request the floor to speak on specific agenda items or topics of discussion.

When a board member wishes to speak, they press or tap a button and are automatically added to a speaker queue. The person managing the discussion can then recognize the speakers electronically, in or out of order. This ensures a fair and equal chance to speak during discussion.

Benefits of School Board Request-to-Speak Systems

Request-to-speak systems offer several benefits for school board meetings.

Organized Discussions: By managing speaker queues, request-to-speak systems help maintain order and structure during meetings. This ensures that discussions remain focused and productive, preventing interruptions and allowing all participants to have their voices heard.

Fairness: Request-to-speak systems promote fairness by providing an equal opportunity for all participants to contribute to the discussion. Regardless of rank or status, individuals can request to speak and be recognized in the order in which they made their request.

Enhanced Efficiency: Request-to-speak systems streamline the process of managing speaker queues, saving time and reducing administrative burden. Meeting organizers can easily track speaker requests and manage speaking time, allowing for smoother and more efficient meetings.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools School Board uses OpenMeeting electronic voting and request to speak system.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools uses the OpenMeeting request-to-speak and electronic voting system to boost efficiency and public experience.

How Request-to-Speak Systems are Used in School Board Meetings

We’ll use the OpenMeeting system, which uses four straightforward steps, to describe the RTS process.

1. Each board member has a tablet that enables them to motion, second, request to speak, and vote electronically. The option to request to speak is only available at appropriate times, following Robert’s Rules. The school board president also has a tablet where they can recognize speakers.

Request to speak on electronic voting app; discussion management for council and board meetings.

2. When a board member requests to speak, they are added to a speaker queue. This is shown on the meeting display at the front of the room for the board and the public to see. The request also appears on the discussion manager’s dashboard. If more board members request to speak, they will also be added to the queue and shown on the meeting display.

3. When the discussion manager recognizes a speaker by tapping their name on their tablet, the speaker’s name lights up in red on the meeting display for the board and public to see. The discussion manager can also set a timer for the speaker.

Discussion management with speaker timer for city council, county board, and school board meetings.

4. When the speaker is finished, they can tap a button to end their time, and the discussion manager can recognize the next person in the speaker queue.

It’s that easy!

In conclusion, request-to-speak systems are valuable tools for promoting organized, inclusive, and efficient discussions in school board meetings. With a clear, straightforward process, school boards can use the system to benefit both themselves and the public. As education governance evolves, request-to-speak systems will play an increasingly important role in facilitating productive and collaborative dialogue in school board meetings.

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