The Importance of Attending Board Meetings

Vol. 14 No. 3

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As a Trustee, you are expected to carry out your due diligence roles—particularly when it comes to Board meetings. In your service to the school, your participation in Board functions is imperative. The Board acts as an entity, not as a collection of individuals. Your attendance and participation are vital to the success of the Board and its actions.

  • During meetings, Trustees must always keep in mind to whom and what the Board is responsible. The Board’s constituency is not the current students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Board members must uphold the essential character and integrity of the school, and ensure that it remains viable to serve the children of today’s students.
  • Attend all Board meetings. If you cannot commit to attending each Board meeting (if meetings are scheduled well in advance), the Board may not be the place for you.
  • Serve on one (but no more than two) Board committee(s) and attend all meetings. Volunteer for committees in which your particular expertise would be most effective.
  • Come to meetings on time and prepared (having read all materials earlier). Given that each meeting will be dedicated largely to deciding on strategic items, there will be little time for reports. Be informed about matters before each meeting.
  • Participate fully in all meetings—your knowledge and input may be consequential in the decisions that are made.
  • Welcome divergent viewpoints. Demonstrate the qualities of honesty combined with empathy, assertiveness combined with humility, and agreement without compromise.
  • Respect the confidentiality of all Board meetings and deliberations. Board members are often privy to sensitive information, and the temptation to share this information outside the Board could have devastating consequences. Keep in mind, “loose lips sink ships.”
  • Stay to the end of each meeting. If you don’t, you may miss critical information in your absence.

Your attendance and participation in Board and committee meetings is important. As a Trustee, you must take these obligations seriously.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM’s Quick Tips Podcast: Preparing for Your Next Board Meeting: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility
The Source for Trustees Vol. 11 No. 8 Objectivity and the Board
The Source for Trustees Vol. 13 No. 1An Enhanced Agenda for the Strategic Board
The Source for Trustees Vol. 13 No. 3 Loose Lips Sink Ships

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 28 No. 4 A Due Diligence Checklist for Board Trustees
I&P Vol. 32 No. 24 Board Service: A Sample Written Commitment
I&P Vol. 37 No. 14 Action-Oriented Agendas for Successful Board Meetings

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