The Board Employs A Superintendent
The board employs and evaluates one person the superintendent and holds that person accountable for district performance and compliance with written board policy.
- An effective school board develops and maintains a productive relationship with the superintendent.
- The employment relationship consists of mutual respect and a clear understanding of respective roles, responsibilities, and expectations. This relationship should be grounded in a thoughtfully crafted employment contract and job description procedures for communications and ongoing assessment and reliance on written policy.
- Although the board is legally required to approve all employment contracts, the board delegates authority to the superintendent to select and evaluate all district staff within the standards established in written board policy.
Fergal Roche Chief Executive Of Ten Governor
Discuss the role of governance at meetings: At the beginning of a recent curriculum committee, I read out a few points from the government and National Governors Association documents on the role of governing boards. We used this as a springboard to discuss the school’s strengths and weaknesses, set strategy and evaluate pupil premium interventions. It was a great way of getting people to sit up and think about the role of governance.
Ensure your clerk is independent: It’s really bad practice for the minutes of board meetings to be taken by the headteacher’s personal assistant or equivalent. The governing board have got to have an independent clerk supporting them, as it makes a significant difference to the board’s ability to make challenges to what’s being said.
Policy As A Tool For Sustaining An Equity Focus
Typically, school boards that we have worked with over the years have incrementally adopted literally hundreds of policies over time. Clearly, it is difficult for boards to govern policy effectively in such situations. Some school boards have succeeded in efforts to dramatically reduce the number of policies in their policy manuals and have been able to introduce coherence, resulting in clearer policy direction to guide the systems, improved ability to monitor key policies and ability to better track system performance.
Some boards that have made these shifts have not only created a more manageable number of policies to monitor, but have also been able to require that superintendents engage with them to ensure shared understanding of the data to be used to demonstrate adherence to major policy provisions. Too often, school boards are frustrated when reports provided by the administration do not align with the policy intent. This frustration can be significantly reduced by boards and superintendents allocating time soon after policy adoption to build shared understanding of expectations, supporting data and indicators of alignment with policy intent. Investing the time on the front end of the policy-setting process saves time and confusion when system performance is reported by the superintendent.
Recommended Reading: Free Government Grants For Ex Felons
The Changing Role Of Teachers
Teachers are traditionally the directors in the classroom. However, in student-centered learning, teachers commit to learning from and alongside their students. This cultivates a safe space where students feel encouraged to test their theories, take risks and direct their own learning. Teachers who understand their students can offer opportunities to draw on specific skills, choices, and interests. This allows students to transform facts into knowledge which can be applied to situations in the broader community.
Engaging activities and positive relationships with adults give students a sense of responsibility. When learners have a voice in setting their goals, motivation and achievement increases. Knowledge is most effective when students can relate the content to their lives outside of school. It is about internalizing and mastering subject matter so that it can be applied to new or unexpected situations.
A shared vision of what success means and looks like for students not only boosts confidence and the ability to thrive in a rapidly changing environment but also provides them a feeling of fulfillment.
The Board Takes Responsibility For Itself
The board, collectively and individually, takes full responsibility for board activity and behavior the work it chooses to do and how it chooses to do the work. Individual board members are obligated to express their opinions and respect others opinions however, board members understand the importance of abiding by the majority decisions of the board.
- The school boards role as trustee for the community is unique and essential to both the district and community.
- While the board must operate within legal parameters, good governance requires the board be responsible for itself, its processes and contributions. Board deliberations and actions are limited to board work, not staff work.
- The board seeks continuity of leadership, even as it experiences turnover in membership. The board accomplishes this by using written board policies to guide board operations, by providing thorough orientation and training for all members, and by nurturing a positive and inviting board culture.
Read Also: What Is Government Security Clearance
Why Focus On Governance
As the Foundation made the shift to districts as the unit of change for our work with school systems, we quickly became aware of the importance of working with school boards to increase effectiveness. The district remains a viable organizational structure for advancing system-wide equity strategies with such equity-focused policies as weighted resource allocation, strategic staffing, differentiated school support systems and locally determined accountability designs to monitor system performance using multiple measures. School boards have an important role as stewards of the education investment made by communities. However, the storied history of public school boards that have failed to perform responsibly has caused numerous reformers, advocates and legislators to believe that school board influence must either be reduced or eliminated as a means to govern public school districts.
Through its leadership and in partnership with communities, school boards have the responsibility to give direction, determine resource allocation formulas, and set the vision, mission, core beliefs and strategic goals of the system. The board determines whether or not equity becomes a front-burner issue in a school community and supports the leverage points to make change happen .
School Board Governance Models
School board governance is seen as a unique system or form of ownership rather than a way of management. The school board is more connected with the needs of its constituents than the general public, which means that the school board does not exist to run the local public school system but to govern the individuals that do.
The school board provides limits or margins of acceptability, within which the superintendent and staff are permitted autonomy. This provides the opportunity for imagination and innovation. In other words, the school board tells the superintendent how not to operate rather than how to operate. These limits are better known as governance.
You May Like: Free Government Phones In Maine
Foundation Principles Of Effective Governance
Illinois leaders have long framed “the work of great governing” around foundation principles.
The collective wisdom is always introduced with the language of social, moral and legal responsibility:
As the corporate entity charged by law with governing a school district, each School Board sits in trust for its entire community. The obligation to govern effectively imposes some fundamental duties on the Board:
- The Board Clarifies the District Purpose.
- The Board Connects With the Community.
- The Board Employs a Superintendent.
- The Board Delegates Authority.
- The Board Takes Responsibility For Itself.
The Board Connects With The Community
The school board engages in an ongoing two-way conversation with the entire community. This conversation enables the board to hear and understand the communitys educational aspirations and desires, to serve effectively as an advocate for district improvement, and to inform the community of the districts performance.
- Community engagement, also called public engagement or civic engagement, is the process by which school boards actively involve diverse citizens in dialogue, deliberation, and collaborative thinking around common interests for their public schools.
- Effective community engagement is essential to create trust and support among community, board, superintendent, and staff.
- A board in touch with community-wide concerns and values will serve the broad public good rather than being overly influenced by special interests.
- The school board must be aggressive in reaching out to the community the districts owners to engage people in conversations about education and the public good. In contrast, people who bring customer concerns to board members should be appropriately directed to the superintendent and staff.
Read Also: Who Should Own Data Governance
Board Governance: Best Practices For The Next Normal
So, how can boards today address these challenges? Wed argue that boards can play a major role in helping to steer organizations into the next normal with greater transparency, accountability, and success if they follow these three key steps:
Board compositionthe profiles of the people that make up the boardhas been the focus of fully 40% of all activist investor demands since 2009, data from Activist Insight shows. Todays shareholders have come to demand boards that represent diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, ages, and skill sets.
This isnt just fairer – its also common sense. Research by Board Ready, a non-profit focused on helping companies with board diversity, found that organizations with diverse boards performed significantly better during the COVID-19 pandemic:
But encouraging diversity isnt only about rethinking the composition of the board. Yes, it may well be time to bring in new profiles, adjust the size of the board to accommodate a more diverse group, or review board membership terms and renewals.
It also means that the board should play a proactive role in encouraging greater diversity within the leadership team and the workforce as a whole.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, board consultants Reshmi Paul and Jeff McClean advocate that boards should create a People Committee, to monitor the organizations commitment to its stated values, such as workforce diversity or corporate social responsibility.
Board Governance: How Technology Can Help
While much of good board governance comes down to organizational culture and policies, software can help make board governance easier.
Board membership can be demanding, especially for those members who sit on multiple boards.
Board governance software can reduce the administrative hassles involved so that every board member has more time available for their governance responsibilities.
Board governance software can be used for tasks like:
- Automating board meeting scheduling
- Building an agenda, setting time limits, and assigning responsibility for each segment
- Storing meeting agendas and minutes securely in a searchable digital format
- Collaborating and commenting on documents
- Assigning and tracking board members tasks
- Voting on resolutions
- Approving and signing documents electronically.
As a result, they can make decisions more transparent, make meetings more efficient, save time, and encourage member accountability and engagement.
Of course, every board is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all software solution that works for every board. Thats why weve put together a list comparing the best board governance software, so you can find the best solution for your board.
You May Like: What Is Government Health Insurance Plan
Board Governance: Types Of Board Structure
There are wide variations in board governance between organizations, and especially between for-profits and nonprofits, but five of the most common types of boards are:
The Different Types Of School Board Member Training
- School laws and regulations
- Federal, state and local laws all impact public education. It is imperative to be aware of these ever-changing policies to effectively make decisions regarding local public education. School board member training can share documents related to legislation and policies on school board management software, like BoardDocs, for continuous reference and review.
Recommended Reading: Low Income Housing Government Programs
School Board Governance Models And Best Practices
As the primary figures governing the local school district, each school board is entrusted with a great responsibility within their community. Implementing a school board governance model is one of the best ways boards can effectively and efficiently carry out those duties.
It is important to note that school boards are designed to be governing boards, not management boards. Although school boards provide oversight in the superintendents management, the school boards goal is to serve as reflective representatives of the publics interest.
School boards also function under various federal statutes, state laws, administrative codes and local policies. These laws and policies govern the work of the school board. It is imperative that school boards stay abreast of these policies and regulations and how they may impact the school boards actions.
The 10 Principles Of Policy Governance
- Govern on behalf of ownership.
- Speak with one voice.
- Policy formed from large issues/values, then add necessary detail.
- Define and delegate, rather than react and ratify.
- Focus on ends not means.
- Set boundaries rather than prescriptions.
- Own, develop and improve board effectiveness.
- Foster a relationship with management that’s empowering, safe and effective.
- Constantly monitor performance with rigor.
You May Like: Native American Money From Government
School Board Governance Best Practices
Adopting an effective governance model can be an excellent way for a school board to create change. But on its own, a governance model may not ensure success. Think of the governance model as the engine and best practices as the fuel. School boards must put the proper practices in place to ensure that their governance model has all the material it needs to steer the board and the district towards success.
Start with these five school board governance best practices:
Governance Best Practices For Highly Effective Charter School Boards
This toolkit from Charter Board Partners provides a nearly comprehensive compilation of best practices to create and sustain a highly effective charter school board. Topics covered include roles and responsibilities, running effective meetings, committee structure, and other practices that align with standards for highly effective boards.
This website was produced in whole or in part with funds from the U.S. Department of Education under contract number GS10F0201T. The content does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the federal government.
Don’t Miss: Government Child Care Assistance Programs
Supereval Can Help School Boards Create A Goal
Even though school board members change from term-to-term, the most successful boards have foundational elements that enable consistently high-performance long-term. With a clear vision, goal-oriented administration, and faculty and the communitys support, you can focus on student academic achievement. SuperEval can be used to make sure that all of your district leaders are on the same page. Find out more about SuperEvals school board self-evaluation and superintendent online evaluations. Or call us today to set up a short demonstration.
Systems Change And Governance: School Boards That Lead For Equity
By Larry Leverett, Executive Director, Panasonic Foundation
The Panasonic Foundation, established in 1984, is guided by its core commitment to support efforts of school systems to improve academic and social outcomes for all students: All Means All. The Foundation provides direct technical assistance to support system effectiveness with attention focused on equity challenges in the school system. Our theory of action has continuously evolved as a result of: 1) changing contexts and Race to the Top ) 2) changing emphasis of major school reform approaches 3) the ever-growing body of knowledge supported by educational research influencing practice and 4) the influences of demographic factors and the societal responses to race, culture and ethnicity. In our early years, we emphasized the school as the unit of change and invested our resources in strengthening the capacity of school-level educators to implement school-based management processes. Some years later, we grew frustrated by the impact of central offices who were not supportive of the creativity and innovative spirit of schools who began asserting their views about autonomy, authority and decision-making roles.
Read Also: Government Grants For Real Estate Agents