School principals are looking forward to the election of their new board with a variety of feelings. Some with trepidation, some with relief, and some no doubt quite relaxed about the outcome. Whatever the situation there will be a need for boards to engage in some level of professional development.
Boards of trustees come in all shapes and sizes. Some function as if they are like the local football club, some think they are an extension of the PTA, others however do understand that their role is to govern, not manage the school – very hands off and taking the helicopter view (rather than thinking they need to take over from the traffic lights at the intersection).
Boards need to understand their basic role, they need to have a properly planned programme of work for their three year term. Monthly meetings need to have purpose and the board needs to be able to review its work and reflect on the progress it has made. The sports successes and the NCEA results are nice to hear about, however they are not the core of what the board is there to deal with.
The part that boards play in reviewing or developing policy, based around their strategic plan and implemented through the principal’s annual plan is key. Obtaining feedback on student engagement, progress and achievement is their essential role as this informs them about how effective their planning has been and allows them to make appropriate changes.
The Ministry of Education published in 2010 the blue booklet called “Effective Governance”. Principal’s are advised to obtain copies of this booklet for the new board’s first readings (it can be downloaded from the Ministry website). Principals also need to ensure that there is a Trustee Folder available for the new board, or at least the new board members. As a quick guide the Trustee Folder should include all the items listed here – Information for trustees
Once trustees are clear on their role they then need to develop their understanding of the key tasks they should accomplish over their three year term. To help with this the Ministry of Education has developed a range of training resources including webinars, training courses and face to face tailored training and support.
The broad topics that are covered in this training are detailed in the attached schedule – Board training programme
To explore professional development opportunities for your board, contact us here