Friday, June 28, 2019

The key things exceptional boards and members do

Notes originally tweeted from this school boards' (they're school boards outside New England) trainers session by Kay Douglas and David Koempel of Texas, Nick Caruso of Connecticut, and Mike Gilbert of Massachusetts:

Exceptional boards:
  • self-govern: this isn't the superintendent's job
  • focus on the work of the board and hold meetings that are purposeful and focused on students: the board agenda should be there to finish the goal; "don't spend time doing work other people could do." What is it that the BOARD (and only the board!) can do? What percentage of the agenda is focused on student achievement? To which district goal is each agenda item tied?
  • work collaboratively with the Superintendent and clearly articulate expectations to community and staff: build and maintain trust and communication
  • set shared vision, mission, and goals and monitor progress: We are really good at setting goals; we are not good at monitoring them. What is the path to the achievement of goals? PUT THE REPORTING OUT ON EVERY AGENDA. 
  • engage in professional development together: agree together on PD (with governance team!) on what YOUR district needs
Exceptional members:
  • make decisions based on data and monitor progress: If the board doesn't have the information it needs, it isn't time to make the decision. This takes admin PD; don't just "throw up a spreadsheet." The purpose of meetings is to make decisions. 
  • respect opinions of others and leave ego at the door: There is no term for an individual board member; they are a member of the board. 
  • understand board's role/learn and abide by board operating procedures: Self-evaluation is about how the BOARD (not the individuals) are doing; that's the distinction from elections. 
  • prepare for board meetings and ask questions in advance: The most frightening sound any chair can hear right before a board meeting is the agenda packet being torn open. Make it clear in public what questions may have been asked but don't play gotcha with the administration. 
  • learn and abide by the open meeting laws and board protocols: know the LAWS
  • keep confidential information confidential: once trust is broken, it takes a long, long time to get back. 

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