Should school administrators besides the School Head routinely—or ever—attend Board meetings? Are there times when the Board ought to meet without the School Head? Don’t allow these seemingly small questions to become issues of contention. Put the following guidelines, observations, and recommendations to work.
Effective Board committee work can be torpedoed by a Board that listens to a committee’s proposal—and then proceeds to alter or redo the work. As the Chair of a committee, you can envision the damage that results. Your committee members are frustrated—as are the other Trustees who feel that your group did not do its work well enough.
A typical Board meeting at many schools is based on a standard format primarily structured around reports from the School Head and various committees. This type of meeting often fosters results that call for little or no action. When trapped in such routine agendas with no true focal points, many Board meetings simply “go through the motions.”
After your Board has its summer retreat and you begin preparations for the next school year, streamline and enhance your Board’s functionality by compiling selected strategic documents. Store them in a specific container (e.g., a large binder or a hanging-file storage box) that is easily accessible for reference by Trustees as needed for committee work or during regular sessions. Of course, many of the documents can be stored and distributed digitally.
Schools dream about attracting Board members with deep pockets. “If we could just get a few rich Trustees, our problems would be solved!”
In reality, the way you structure your Board membership must be designed to support your school’s mission, as expressed through the strategic financial plan. That means creating a “Board profile”—a list of the resources and expertise you need to meet those strategic goals.
Private-independent schools, always aware of the need to perpetually market their programs, often wonder what draws families to private education. What are the latest trends? How can we enhance our efforts to recruit mission-appropriate students?
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