Develop and offer a Lexington Citizens' Academy in the fall of 2009 to encourage civic involvement from previously unengaged citizens and provide transparency for Lexington's Town government.
- Two-hour sessions one evening a week for 9 weeks in the fall. Information-based sessions focusing on one or two specific departments, including schools.
- General outline:
- Describe programs and services (ideally with hands-on component)
- Introduce staff
- Talk about interactions with committees and other departments
- Answering participants' questions.
- Enrollment of up to 25 participants; welcome everyone but give preference to those with less than 5 years of experience in Town Meetings or on a committee.
- Broad outreach and publicity including print and online media, sandwich board at the Farmers' Market, notification to neighborhood and community groups, and sign-up through Lexington Community Education.
- Ongoing evaluation of sessions by participants, with a longer evaluation at the end of the Academy.
- Graduation ceremony to award shirts and take photos, following a televised Selectmen's meeting where participants are recognized and thanked
- Participants enjoyed the Academy and provided great feedback. Several said they would recommend it to their friends and relatives.
- Initial perceptions were changed as participants learned more about Town government and interacted with department staff.
- Staff were impressed with the curiosity and enthusiasm of the participants.
- Hold a Lexington Citizens' Academy annually in the fall; consider also in spring if fall session becomes over-enrolled. The Citizens' Academy has been held every fall since 2009, and recruitment begins in the summer.
- Add Academy graduates to the 2020 alumni list.