In 2019, Giddings ISD, a small Central Texas school district, was struggling with outdated meeting planning processes that required a heavy time investment from staff.
At the time, Giddings ISD was using an internal PDF system for organizing and preparing meeting documents. This system, though an upgrade from the paper-based model the district had used for decades, required a high degree of manual maintenance.
District administrators met with the BoardBook team in the spring of 2019 to investigate whether they could gain efficiencies by switching to digital meeting management platform. Later that year, the district rolled out the new system.
Simpler meeting management
Giddings ISD’s monthly board meetings call for a high degree of coordination among district staff, but the district’s PDF system made last-minute changes unwieldy, with staff having to copy, scan, and repaginate documents when changes were made.
Assistant to the Superintendent Dana Devoll is responsible for the district’s meeting coordination. According to Devoll, BoardBook’s cloud-based system cuts out the manual work of preparing documents for board meetings. Using the meeting template feature, Devoll can quickly create and modify agendas for recurring meetings.
“I start the minutes with my template that’s in the system, and it puts the wording at the top the way I want it,” said Devoll. “I can go in and very quickly complete my minutes by finding the agenda item and adding, ‘here’s who made the motion, here’s who seconded it.’”
The new system’s collaboration features have been a boost to productivity as well. With BoardBook, multiple users can edit documents, which means Devoll’s superintendent can make changes to the files with edits visible immediately. Devoll can also quickly and easily share documents and notes with those who need to review.
“The attachments give you the option to select who gets to see – agenda reviewers, anyone with login, the public,” said Devoll. “And in the description box, I can separately give the board a brief overview saying, ‘we discussed this at a previous meeting, here’s what we’re presenting you with.’”
Enhanced participant experience
The district’s PDF system was often clunky for participants. Board members had to open multiple attachments on their individual devices, so making sure everyone was on the same page could be a challenge. But BoardBook’s follow-the-leader interface has created a smoother participant experience for members.
“Board members’ Chromebooks are set up so that they are automatically following whoever is leading the meeting,” said Devoll. “It’s so much easier for them. They don’t have to fumble around with papers trying to find where we are, what page are we on.”
Being able to easily search meeting notes and agendas within BoardBook’s system has also helped with meeting productivity. Devoll often uses the system’s search feature to locate text within policy documents and previous meeting agendas, and she can quickly copy and paste into current agendas and meeting minutes when needed.
“I can go back in and look at last year’s agenda versus this year’s and make sure I have all the items that I need,” said Devoll. “It’s just such a huge time-saver and organizer.”
Switching with ease
Though transitioning to a new system can be a challenge, Devoll says BoardBook made it easy to switch. With timely and in-depth support available when needed, Devoll never felt lost using the new system.
“They do conference calls where they take over your screen and show you what they’re doing. And the webinars and training videos are second to none,” said Devoll. “The BoardBook team was wonderful throughout the whole process.”
This article was first published on Feb. 6, 2023.