Boost Board Effectiveness for Your Public Education Organization

Lena Eisenstein
There have been many studies conducted on the qualities and characteristics that improve board effectiveness for public school districts. Effective school boards lead to high-achieving schools and students. These successful school boards have perspectives, traits, knowledge, and approaches that separate them from their counterparts.

The key focus of an effective school board is accomplishing work that encourages and improves student achievement. Research has shown that students perform better in districts with effective school boards.

In what ways can school boards improve their effectiveness? There are many practices that boards can utilize to become more successful, greatly impacting their public education organization.

Be knowledgeable of the board member role and responsibilities

School board members are elected to serve as representatives and advocates of the communities they serve. It is imperative to board effectiveness for board members to be aware of the work that is required of them.

School board member responsibilities can be burdensome, as they work to serve as champions for their local district. However, the work completed by board members is vital to the success of the district and its students.

Through school board member responsibilities tied to governance, policies, budgeting, and more, the board can cultivate a culture of support and success within the community. There are tools available that boards can utilize to efficiently, effectively, and successfully fulfill their school board member responsibilities.

Leveraging the right technology, board members can maintain vital documents and materials related to board responsibilities and effectiveness. Policies, procedures, board training materials, etc. can all be easily maintained and accessed through board management software.

Embrace modern governance

Modern governance can be challenging, but it is through this practice of empowering leaders to fuel good governance in the digital age that leaders are encouraged and transformed ' greatly impacting districts, schools, and students.

Modern governance goes beyond the boardroom to engage and equip board members and the communities that they serve. Effective school boards recognize that education is an ever-changing landscape that requires embracing opportunities through technology that can lead to better effective decision making. These opportunities can also increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the school board.

The right technology can support modern governance by providing a streamlined platform for school board members to leverage. Technology can equip school board members to be more organized, efficient, and effective. Leveraging the right board management software, school boards are better equipped to carry out the mission and vision of the district.

Meeting agendas, past meeting minutes, policy manuals, strategic plans, goal information, and orientation or training resources are all significant materials related to board functions; school board members should have the capability of gaining access to these documents from any device or location, securely. Utilizing the right technology school board members can easily upload, share, and access all of these vital materials.

The modern governance practice of having quick and simplified access to policies related to school board governance sets the board up for success in modern governance practices. School board members and administrators can continuously be aware of the laws and policies that guide the actions taken by the board.

Engage in self-assessment of the board

School boards are not only accountable for their choices, but for the outcomes of those choices. Accountability for school boards means taking responsibility related to student achievement.

Effective school boards recognize the importance of reflection and self-assessment, and how it relates to the performance of the district, schools, and students.

Participation in assessment provides school boards the opportunity for thorough examination the strength of the board and district and areas for growth. This knowledge can equip boards in establishing goals, developing policies, and exploring new areas for training or creating standards.

Utilizing technology, like board management software, school boards and administrators can maintain materials related to self-assessment. Information related to the performance of schools, the district, and the board can be securely maintained and accessed for continuous reference as the board works toward greater effectiveness.

Collaboration between school boards and superintendents

Successful school districts with high student achievement had boards that focused on a positive relationship between the board and superintendent. Those districts where superintendents were micromanaged by boards, with poor communication and conflict between board members and the superintendent, and where there was confusion between their roles or responsibilities had lower district performance.

The school board and superintendent play significant parts in the performance of the local school district. Building trust and respect between board members and the superintendent is essential to accomplishing work toward meeting district goals and supporting student achievement.

Leveraging the right technology, proper board training, clear communication, and knowledge of best practices (responsibilities, policies, regulations, etc.) all support these leaders in cultivating a team rooted in respect, trust, and transparency.

Board management software encourages transparency, communication, and effectiveness between board members and administrators through collaborative technology. Successful boards and superintendents recognize that their positive partnership results in greater achievement for their students and district.

Take advantage of technology and resources

Studies have shown that board effectiveness positively correlates with lower dropout rates, a higher percentage of students matriculating to college, and higher test performance than districts with less effectively governed boards.

The right technology, like Community by Diligent, supports board effectiveness through the ability to securely maintain and access pertinent board information from any location or device. School board members can be empowered in their roles through seamless, streamlined access to important materials and documents.

Meeting agendas, past meeting minutes, budgets, and strategic plans are all vital to board performance. Leveraging board software, like Community, school districts are able to ensure that these essential documents are easily accessible by board members, administrators, and the public.

Boards and administrators should have the capability of retrieving these documents from any device or location, securely. Utilizing Community, school boards and superintendents can easily access these materials from any device with internet access, anytime and anywhere. This level of accessibility allows administrators and board members to share materials to make educated and timely decisions for the betterment of the district. These features support an effective board, leading to greater student achievement.

Technology can be a valuable resource that can support school boards in performing their best work and encourage board effectiveness. Technology is key to school boards, and their districts, performing efficiently, effectively, and successfully.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.