What Are the Benefits of a School Board Governance Committee?

Lena Eisenstein

Public school boards serve as representatives and advocates for their community. These boards work toward accomplishing goals to promote district and student achievement. However, school boards also face many challenges through policy and governance when working toward their goals.

Governance is a topic that can stir up different connotations and emotions; but, good governance is an integral part of a successful school board.

For public governing bodies, governance refers to processes of regulation, organization, and management. This means school boards function very differently than those in the corporate or non-profit sectors.

It is important to note that school boards are designed to be governing boards, not management boards. Although school boards provide oversight in the management of the superintendent, the school board's goal is to serve as reflective representatives of the public's interest.

School boards also function under various federal statutes, state laws, administrative codes, and local policies. These laws and regulations guide the work of the school board. It is imperative that school boards stay abreast of these policies and how they may impact the board's actions.

To practice good governance, school boards must study and apply policies and procedures that promote those skills and characteristics. School board governance committees are vital to school boards in ensuring that the work of the board reflects modern governance practices.

What is the purpose of a governance committee?

The school board governance committee may review and assess new or existing policies or governance procedures and makes recommendations to the full school board.

The committee members must stay on top of changing policies, legislation, and other regulations that can affect the school board and the work being done. Governance is a vital aspect of school boards and working toward district goals.This committee supports good governance that leads to the success of the district.

Governance committees need constant access to documents and materials related to governance and policy; leveraging the right technology, school boards can utilize board management software that supports committees in accessing and sharing pertinent information.

Streamlined board portals support school boards and their committees in performing their best work, by allowing for continuous access to information so that boards and their committees can make informed decisions anytime, anywhere.

Governance committees help guide and support the school board in their governance practices. These committees encourage good governance that leads to successful school boards accomplishing goals for the betterment of the district.

What are the benefits of a school board governance committee?

The benefits of this type of committee can change based upon the board, district, and state. Some governance committees may hold different responsibilities or duties. No matter the specifics, governance committees provide a great amount of value and support that benefits school boards.

  1. Provide feedback on areas of strength and growth in governance for the board by conducting a board self-assessment.
  2. Offer structure and organization through developing an annual board calendar.
  3. Review and recommend changes to the board's bylaws and policies to promote better governance.
  4. Stay up-to-date on local and state policies or regulations that may impact governance by the board, ensuring that the board understands and is adhering to regulations.
  5. May develop or implement board training materials or policy manuals for members to reference.

This committee supports the board by ensuring that it observes and implements the best governance practices possible. Without good governance, conflict and challenges can arise in leadership; this can then shift the focus from student achievement to internal struggles and conflict.

Leveraging technology for better governance and board work

Modern governance can be challenging, but it is through this practice of empowering leaders to fuel good governance in the modern 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 community that they serve. The right technology can support modern governance by providing a streamlined platform for school board members to leverage.

Utilizing the right technology, like Community by Diligent, the work performed by the board and governance committee can be seamless and easily accessible from anywhere. School boards have the opportunity to utilize technological tools in order to not miss any opportunities for effective and strategic decision making.

Information and materials can be easily shared and accessed seamlessly through Community's board portal, meaning board and committee members continuously are 'in the know' and can perform their best work for the district and community.

School districts are evolving, utilizing the technology that is currently available in classrooms and other formats to benefit students and schools; school boards must do the same. Technology can equip school boards and committees to be more organized, efficient, and effective. Leveraging Community's board management software, school boards are better equipped to carry out the mission and vision of the district.

The ability for board and committee members to have access to the information that they need and when they need it creates opportunities. Board and committee members then have the capability to make better strategic decisions related to the district through the continuous access to board materials.

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 Community, 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. Governance committees can set up the Community portal so that board members and administrators can continuously be aware of the laws and policies that guide the actions taken by the board. Community by Diligent meets the board's current needs, and works to push the board toward better governance practices and accomplishing their best work.

Good governance establishes a strong foundation for school board work

School boards cannot do their best work without good governance practices. These committees assist the board by encouraging modern governance that is informed, knowledgeable, and active. Governance committees clear the way for the board to succeed.

Without the guidance of the committee, many school boards would fall to lackadaisical practices that can lead to a poor leadership performance that distracts from the true purpose of the board. Good governance, guided by the school board governance committee, sets a strong foundation for school boards to succeed in providing representation for their local community and supporting student and district achievement.

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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.