The Importance of Performance Evaluation Software for School Boards

Lena Eisenstein

The culture of an organization is established by its leadership, and it is no different for school districts with their school boards. School boards must be resilient, effective leaders to confront and overcome the difficult challenges that public education often faces.

School board members serve as representatives of their community and work to promote student success and achievement. When performing such important work, performance evaluations are imperative to reflecting on the work that has been accomplished, which impacts future work to be done.

Effective school board governance requires boards to evaluate their performance. The increasing utilization of board management tools and board performance evaluation software can lead to more efficient and effectual performance reviews and assessment.

Utilizing Performance Evaluation Software to Maintain a Board Portfolio

The school board's performance evaluation is an essential task of the board. Maintaining a portfolio of data and materials that support the work that the board has accomplished throughout the year is extremely helpful to an effective performance evaluation. Performance evaluation software can assist in regularly maintaining documents and materials related to the work done by the board throughout the year. All of this information can be maintained in performance evaluation software to make the process more efficient and effective.

Assessment Tools and Resources in Performance Evaluation Software

Many states provide resources and tools for boards to utilize in the performance evaluation process. These tools and documents can be integrated with performance evaluation software for easy access and application. Using performance evaluation software, any materials that need to be easily accessed by board members or the public can be made available.

Effective performance evaluation software should allow for the space for boards to identify and integrate rubrics and other assessment resources or materials in evaluating the work accomplished by the board. Rubrics can be easily accessed and referred to through board performance software. Throughout the year, boards can reference these assessment materials, including the strategic plan, to track the work that has been completed and what tasks are still left to complete.These materials, through board management tools with a performance evaluation software integrated, may be linked to meeting agendas and minutes. The board can even adjust privacy settings to allow the public to view pertinent information.

Why is the Assessment of the School Board's Performance Important?

  • Maintains board accountability to themselves, district staff, and the community.
  • Encourages reflection by school board members on individual member and collective board conduct and performance.
  • Promotes open and honest communication.
  • Identifies the strength and weaknesses of the board's adopted and implemented policies and procedures.
  • Engages the board in effective goal-setting and long-range preparation.

Many boards discover that conducting performance evaluations regarding their work as a governance group serves multiple purposes. It promotes open discussion about progress that has been made toward district goals. It also gives the board an opportunity to discuss how they are working together as a governance team and whether the processes and protocols they have agreed to and adopted as a group are effective.

School boards that make the effort to support honest and constructive dialogue about the board's responsibilities as a governance leadership team has a greater opportunity of successfully working toward achieving the vision and goals of the district.

Effective and efficient governance is a great team effort that requires throughout and continuous assessment and reflection. The performance evaluation process can lead to district success only if the school board works to develop a culture that prioritizes this type of reflection and evaluation at all levels.

Board self-evaluations that are carefully and thoroughly done cultivate a culture in which deep, straightforward discussions can take place regarding how the board conducts itself, completes board work, and how the board guides the district. Often these conversations are challenging and uncomfortable for participants, but are vital for growth and progress to take place. School board performance evaluation is all about enhancing communication, reflecting on the board's work, and maintaining focus on the work at hand to reach the vision for the district.

Performance Evaluation Software's Many Purposes

Performance evaluation software can be used by more than just the board, furthering its productivity and usefulness. In preparation for the superintendent's evaluation, the administrator can utilize the performance evaluation software as a reporting tool.

The superintendent may be able to use this software to establish goals that they can connect to tasks and the agenda for evaluations. Performance evaluation software can track the progress of the superintendent's work and can be used as a portfolio of the superintendent's accomplishments. These goals can be set to public or private. The superintendent can also highlight these items in the evaluation or review those goals with the cabinet in their evaluations.

Cloud-based board management software allows school boards to measure and track progress related to the strategic plan, which can be extremely helpful for board assessment. The goal-tracking software by BoardDocs, a Diligent brand, allows every board member to view a dashboard indication of the progress made toward each goal in the strategic plan every time a board member or administrator logs on to the board portal. The dashboard converts strategic plan goals into measurable actions and allows board members to view time expenditures related to those action items, then share the progress with the community. This feature can be utilized as performance evaluation software, tracking progress as a portfolio and maintaining materials related to assessment and review.

School board members serve as representatives of their community and work to promote student success and achievement. When performing such important work, performance evaluations are imperative to reflecting on the work that has been accomplished, which impacts future work to be done. Tracking this work through performance evaluation software, like that featured in BoardDocs, can save time and energy when the time comes for boards to work on assessment of the work that has been done. All of the documents, tasks, timelines, and other related materials can all be easily accessed for reference. Utilizing the right digital tools, like performance evaluation software, can lead to more efficient and effectual performance reviews and assessment.

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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.