Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not-so-liveblog of the Worcester School Committee retreat: school committee functions

Jonathan Carter on public governance
Carter says there’s only one committee which is the committee of the whole (dismissal of subcommittees)
Four areas: board processes, indicators, means, board-superintendent relationship (only with superintendent…no other people that you’re going to) : Asks how we feel about policy manual. Answer is what policy manual? O’Connell references policy manual for students..but not one for School Committee, then something about manual from 1970’s (?) This obviously dismays the leader…”model policies on many different issues…you must have some internal guidance in place” “the fewer policies you have the better off you are in terms of the superintendent having the autonomy” to make decisions. Establishing guidelines, frameworks, monitoring outcomes
Basic principles:
1. Board owns organizationon behalf of community.
2. Board employs CEO to whom it delegates day-to-day leadership and management of district
3. CEO is the only district employee who reports to and receives direction from the board
4. Board speaks with one voice or not at all. Individual members have no authority over district (reference here to Committee members who issue instructions to principals; exchange with Mayor who asks what should happen if it happens (which it does). Says that it will be Dr. Boone on the doorstep of Committee member)
5. Board prescribes the ends but stays out of the means to as great extent as possible.
6. Board holds CEO accountable for progress on Indicators of Success; performance is monitored against established criteria (reference to mayor of Detroit staging takeover of public schools, a favorable mention, one might say)
7. CEO recognizes board’s need for adequate an timely information
8. CEO responsible for engaging staff in planning and decision making
9. Bad and CEO are jointly responsible for effective communication
10. The only standing committee is the committee of the whole. (no standing committees)

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