Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Board President Issues

Today I had lunch with two charter school governing board presidents. One was experienced and the other was a new board member last August and has been president for one month. Both are from well-established, successful schools that have been in operation more than ten years. What did they talk about?

Here are a few of things that were discussed:

1. How to set the agenda--keeping the meeting efficient, using reports in writing in the board packet, public comment protocol.

2. A handy tool for making the monthly agenda. It's a spreadsheet with a monthly tab for each agenda. At the bottom there is a list of all the statutory reasons and citations for going into executive session in case that needs to be put on the agenda. Each month's agenda is already prepopulated with the agenda items that are routinely addressed during that month. There's also a reference at the bottom for any of the policies that require something to be done during that month, such as approving the school budget in April.

3. Principal evaluation: when to do it so that the board can make a timely decision for the next year and know the impact to the school's budget. Quite often boards neglect to do an annual evaluation of their lead administrator until problems arise.

4. Board training. Both boards are already using the online training modules for charter school boards in Colorado, but now that a study guide is in development the presidents both had plans to incorporate three modules into each board agenda. They plan to have a short workshop, using the study guide's guiding questions, for each set of three modules.

5. Transparency and accessibility for the school's stakeholders. One of the boards puts their entire board packet (unless something is confidential) online. Past board packets are archived.

In the fall, there will be a new program for board presidents and board members wanting more detailed training. This will be the "second level" of training for board members who have already completed the 30 online board training modules. Each semester there will be a President's Council meeting and a webinar. Information will be available through the CDE Schools of Choice Events page and listserv.

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