Eliminating Information Overload

Newport News Schools, VA

The Newport News School Board needed a better way to manage documents. Board members said that an over-abundance of reports, minutes, agendas, policies, and manuals were difficult to manage and store at home.

Way Too Much Paper

“We had so much paper - especially with school board meetings - and we really had a space problem. We couldn’t throw away paper items, so we were looking for a way to store all the information,” Community Relations Specialist Charlotte Colbert said. “Not only were the documents taking up too much room, they were cumbersome, troublesome to carry to board meetings and time-consuming to distribute to District patrons.”

Then, a school board member attended a lecture on paperless meetings. She suggested the concept to the school board back at home, and they chose to make the switch. The solution to the problem was BoardDocs. The BoardDocs implementation team trained the staff and school board, and Newport News School District eliminated the need for paper at meetings. “We successfully eliminated the need to store copies of bulky documents,” Colbert said.

Now It’s All Online

The District now stores all board meeting minutes, agendas, notes, calendars, policies and a 100-page school board manual online. The documents are always in the same place, they are organized and easy to find. “With just the touch of a button, we have BoardDocs. It makes our work so much easier,” Colbert said.

Benefits Far Outweigh the Costs

The board has gone from receiving weekly packets of three inches of paper to receiving a single electronic version. Bi-monthly paper agenda printing was greatly reduced. According to Colbert, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

One of Colbert’s favorite features of BoardDocs is the online availability of board policies and procedures. The system is user-friendly and uncomplicated for board members or the public to use when accessing or searching board policies. They are no longer forced to use two separate, 2 inch, bulky policy manuals. BoardDocs has also made updating and revision of policies and procedures a very simple process.

“I was also able to input all board policies into BoardDocs. Now, with just a click of a button, we can call up a policy for review. We can even link the policy as an attachment in a board agenda. Board members and others who view the agenda from a computer can click on the link and the policy is quickly accessed,” Colbert said.

Deputy Clerk Kim Hinton is responsible for putting together all of the Newport News board packets. She uses the program daily and said that BoardDocs alleviates having to spend excess time making copies of documents. “Making quick changes to documents is easy and instantaneous. Administrators just email electronic copies of supporting documents that will be included in the board packet, and I cut and paste the document right into BoardDocs. I take any file, whether it’s an email, a PDF or a word document, and paste it right into BoardDocs,” Hinton said.

“Everything is coming to me electronically so it keeps my desk neat. BoardDocs helps maintain organization and professionalism.”

About Newport News School District

Newport News School District, with a population of 32,500 students, was the first district in the state of Virginia to subscribe to BoardDocs. Newsweek Magazine has rated all five high schools in the school division among the “Best High Schools in America”. The Newport News School Board recently received the honor of “School Board of the Year” by the Virginia School Boards Association.

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