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Independent School Management (ISM), the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), and Measuring Success have collaborated to update a study and methodology originated in 2006 by Measuring Success and repeated in 2011 by Measuring Success with ISM. These original studies suggested no statistical relationship between tuition increase and enrollment outcome. The current findings strengthen those studies in several ways.
ISM has, in the past, provided counsel about those basic observable behaviors that underlay the Head’s strategic goals in and through the support and evaluation process. In this companion article, we consider the position of the Board President.
It is, of course, true that the Board President is a volunteer and not a paid employee of the school. At the same time, the Board President’s position is a key strategic function. And the partnership of the Board President and the School Head is the key strategic partnership in the school.
Private-independent schools typically do not think of themselves as financial institutions. But their engagement in certain financial activities may subject them to obligations under the federal Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, commonly known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). Additionally, every school that hires any third-party vendor with access to the “nonpublic personal information” (NPI) of employees or students should be concerned about the terms and conditions of the contract relating to data protection and response to data breaches. To the extent that those vendors perform financial activities and are covered by GLBA, then contract provisions relating to GLBA compliance are important and the school should ensure that they are adequate.
ISM’s long-standing recommendation is that the Board President annually form a Head Support and Evaluation Committee (HSEC) to work with the School Head to:
- create a list of major School Head goals at the start of each year;
- identify or develop an array of data bearing on each goal;
- support the Head throughout the year in analyzing the data and introducing, as needed, midcourse corrections; and
- produce at year-end a summary/critique pertinent to each goal for presentation to the Board President.
Considering the Department Chair as a middle manager can be a difficult proposition. In many schools, the Department Chair still teaches the same number of classes as everyone else and has little real power. Or the Department Chair is, so to speak, the “union leader” of a power group that advocates for its own position within a power structure. The prerequisite for a change in the role to one of middle manager requires the entire faculty culture to be growth-focused. In such a culture and with strong Division Head leadership, the Department Chair can exercise proactive leadership that supports the school’s strategic vision largely by grounding it in a realistic application within the classroom.
Once upon a time, school updates and “newsletters” were little more than photocopied to-do lists for parents, reminding them of upcoming deadlines and maybe including the next week’s lunch menu. Since then, the school newsletter has evolved, becoming a powerful communication and relationship-cultivation instrument.