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5 Keys for Unlocking School Board Assessment

Posted by Grace Lee on Jul 29, 2012 10:10:00 PM

How do you measure the quality of a school board? How can a board know that it's doing the right things and is fulfilling its duties?

The importance of the school board cannot be overstated - The school will rise or fall based on the qualityof its board. The board sets the tone for the school through its navigation of several polarities, including:

  • Governance vs ManagementSchool Growth Board Index
  • Personal Interests vs School Mission
  • Individual Voice vs Board Unity
  • Disciplined Leadership vs Innovative Entrepreneurship

School boards come in different shapes, sizes, temperments, and histories. To assess the the quality of a school board (private, charter, or public), we focus on these 5 key areas of school board assessment:

  1. Board Culture

    Does the board routinely conduct a confidential peer review to assess the following competencies for each member:

    - Communication
    - Professionalism
    - Confidentiality
    - Preparation
    - Contribution
    - Passion
    - ComplianceDoes the board provide orientation and training around the core competencies, along with current educational issues, legal and fudiciary responsibilities, and best practices? Overall, is the board culture conducive to a learning organization?

  2. Trustee Growth

    Does the board establish specific goals for each trustee to accomplish during the year? How does the board track the achievement of these goals? Is professional development provided for the trustees?

  3. Board Leadership

    Does the chairperson and the executive committee of the board set a strategic agenda for each meeting with ample time to prepare? How does the board fulfill its obligation regarding:

    - Declaration of any and all conflicts of Interest
    - Financial audit management
    - Board meeting quality and reporting

    How does the board's leadership determine effectiveness of each meeting and the board overall?

  4. School Organizational Health

    Does the board face the brutal facts regarding the viability and health of the organization, with specific knowledge regarding:

    - Substantial cash reservices
    - Selection and evaluation of trustees based on a strategic process
    - Development and achievement of the school's strategic plan
    - Healthy faculty engagement and development
    - Major donor engagement
    - Balanced budget, excluding gifts/donations
    - Competitive faculty salaries and benefits
    - Healthy engagement of the chief administrator

  5. School Leadership

    Does the board ensure the achievement of the strategic plan goals? Does the board utilize a process for evaluating the chief administrator that is motivating, objective, and reliable?


Want to know the effectiveness of your school board? The answers to these 5 areas will help you determine whether your board is a high performing blue chip investment, or perhaps its an organization with potential that needs immediate attention. The students in your school are certainly worth the effort!

Topics: Board Culture

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