Happy New Year! As January is the time when so many people reflect upon their personal goals and practices, it can also be the time when boards lift their heads up from their work to consider how they best fulfill their roles as governors. It is easy for any group to get into a rut and is therefore important to regularly consider if your practices fully meet the needs of your organization. What better time than now?
One way to think about the efficacy of the work being done by a small school board is to think of the interaction of three factors: discipline, knowledge, and time. While I am confident that the board members on any small school board are dedicated, intelligent, and caring, I know that frequently boards become undisciplined in their practices. For example, you know that reports should be sent out a week in advance of a meeting, but committees don’t always send in minutes on time, there is always something important going on at the school that takes time and focus, and often, those reports are sent out the day before the meeting (or are passed out at the meeting!). We get into habits of practice where we know we should be doing something differently, and yet we just don’t have the push to change things.
So think of these questions as the “push” for your board.
These questions certainly aren’t exhaustive; they are intended to spark discussion and further questions. Spending the time now to consider with your board how you spend your time, what knowledge you need to acquire, and whether you are disciplined in accomplishing what you know you should, will enable you to move forward confidently into the new year with your work of governing your small school.
Writes about small school leadership and governance