Electronic School, January 1999, p. A24

The school board chair of Montgomery County, Va., has found an innovative and creative way to communicate with his constituents: an electronic newsletter.

Nearly three years ago James Klagge assembled by hand a list of about 300 people’s E-mail addresses so he could send updates to them on his school board’s activities.

In doing so, he has found these great benefits that achieve powerful results:

  1. Keep people informed on current school board activity.

  2. Tell people his opinion on key issues.

  3. Get people’s opinions on important issues.

  4. Advocate community involvement in educational and other areas of government.

Klagge also shares some lessons he’s learned along the way:

  1. Use “blind carbon” addressing on such large group E-mails so that there isn’t a long list of E-mail addresses on each message you send out.

  2. Emphasize in your E-mail that the messages are not official documents of the school board, but rather just one member’s way of communicating with constituents.

  3. Honor people’s requests to be removed from the list, and assure them that you are using the list only for your own purposes.

  4. While E-mail is a good source of feedback, remember that not every constituent has E-mail access, so you’re only getting input from and sending information to a certain segment of the community.