To The Daily Sun,
To work in the classroom it has to be right in the board room. So what is effective school board governance?
In a "non profit "Board of Trustees" (like public education) the school board's overarching OBLIGATION and RESPONSIBILITY is in representing, protecting and benefiting the interests of the district education stakeholders. Education stakeholders include almost everyone in the community. (Then acting on their behalf and serving as their agent to clearly identify the stakeholders and their primary needs and wishes). This is the "Bed Rock" of "not for profit" high performance and very effective board governance.
High performance board governance begins with a clear, precise and shared notion of why and for what purpose the school board exists. The board develops a stakeholder-supported education vision for the community, including the key strategic outcomes, with clear metrics of success and projected time lines to completion. Only with clarity and community consensus can the school board determine what it must do and how it will go about doing it. The board decides and acts on behalf of the stakeholders having a fiduciary duty of loyalty.
Who are the typical STAKEHOLDERS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION?
Almost everyone in the Community wants:
1. A community reputation for delivering high quality public education combined with solid annual improvement for each student.
2. Parents — a strong academic performance of students (with extra help as needed) compared with other districts in New Hampshire and providing a solid preparation for life.
3. Home owners — A reasonable local cost of good public education and an improved reputation of the school district in the state.
SOLID BOARD GOVERNANCE IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS TWO MAJOR FACETS:
A. FULFILLING 5 KEY BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES.
1. With strong community "stakeholder support", develop and clearly articulate The Vision of what the organization can become at its very best. If you can not envision what the organization can become at its very best then you are very unlikely to achieve it. The Board then determines the key specific strategic outcomes necessary to achieve the vision by achieving the metrics of success and the planed time lines of completion for accountability.
2. Ensuring executive (superintendent) performance oversight, primarily of the construction and implementation of the board-approved strategy to fulfill the board's vision. Transparency of the measured progress is very important.
3. Oversight of the effectiveness of system wide process and procedures and the empowerment of all employees.
4. Ensuring the organizations financial health. Quality and cost determines stakeholder value.
5. Ensuring the board's own ongoing effectiveness and credibility.
B. PERFORMING 3 KEY ROLES.
1. Policy formulation — specifying its expectations and outcomes.
2. Decision making — choosing among alternatives.
3. Oversight — assessing and reporting key aspects of organizational performance to the stakeholders.
Public school board and district superintendent key responsibilities include:
A Public School Board is responsible to the community to develop an Educational Vision Statement that the stakeholders have helped to develop and strongly support. I cannot overstate the importance of stakeholder involvement. Increased community transparency is crucial.
The key specific responsibilities of the school board and the superintendent below are important to clarify and understand in order to attain solid board governance for all non-profit types of organizations. In public education they are particularly important to understand prior to the interview and hiring of a new superintendent. The superintendent is often tasked to design and implement a strategic plan to achieve the key strategic outcomes determined necessary by the board to deliver the education vision for the district. The mission of the school board is to achieve the communities education VISION for the future. In order to discuss and then execute the proper focus, plans for effective oversight and accountability for the desired education outcomes needs to be determined prior to the superintendent being interviewed and selected. Often this is not done.
1. The Education Vision of the future (3-5 years) for the district stakeholders (Is a school board responsibility) First listen and then to produce.
2. Determine the school district's Key Strategic Measurable Outcomes necessary to achieve the vision (Is a school board responsibility).
3. Develop a Specific District System Strategy to achieve the board-required outcomes and achieve the vision (Is a superintendent responsibility).
4. The implementation of the strategy (Is a superintendent responsibility).
5. The achievement of the individual Key Strategic Outcomes (Is a superintendent responsibility).
6. The progress and achievement of the school board's vision (is a school board responsibility to transparently report progress of the Key Strategic Outcomes to the community stakeholders).