How important is governance in the design of your school growth strategies? Vital. Because the leadership capacity and structure of the school board impacts every other decision.
From many years of research and consultation, we published the School Growth Continuum of Board Development as a tool for board assessment and planning.
To advance your school design start by gaining greater awareness of where your board is on this continuum and whether/how the board wants to grow.
The Organizing Board is the first stage of development as they are leading on a day-to-day basis with active involvement in administrative decision such as personnel, finances, discipline, academics, and communications. A board at this early stage is generally operating with "cut-and-paste" by-laws and other organizational documents, trying to establish the basics that are essentially for survival of the school or district.
The Managing Board has moved forward to a month-to-month decision making timeline. Though still involved in some management decisions, they have established preliminary boundaries to delineate appropriately between governance and administration. Stronger financial and leadership policies are implemented, along with a more intentional method for onboarding new members.
The Governing Board has achieved a healthy balance for governance, establishing clear expectations for performance, communication, metrics, and funding. The corporate documents are well defined, the chairman of the board is a highly functioning leader who works closely with the chief administrator, and the organization demonstrates a significant level of emotional maturity.
Finally, the rarely achieved level of governance is the Sustaining Board, where there is a clear leadership succession plan, well-structured financial policies and funding, and an organizational design that protects the institution from internal and external threats to its mission and viability.