Effective School Boards—What are Their Common Characteristics?

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, Jan. 28, 2015

Ever wonder why some school boards can be really effective while others are not? Research recently compiled by the Center for Public Education indicates that there are eight common characteristics for effective school boards, i.e., boards that positively impact their district’s student achievement.

While some may question whether school boards are even necessary, CPE’s findings show that “it is clear that school boards in high-achieving districts exhibit habits and characteristics that are markedly different from boards in low-achieving districts.”

According to the report, the most dramatic examples were in comparing districts with similar levels of poverty and disadvantage to determine what separates the high-performing districts from the low.

A few examples of effective boards are:

  • Boards in high-achieving districts are more likely to engage in goal setting and monitoring their progress.
  • They are increasingly data savvy—identifying student needs and justifying decisions based on data.
  • Board members possess detailed knowledge of their district, including initiatives to jump-start success.
  • Board members have crafted a working relationship with superintendents, teachers and administrators based on mutual respect, collegiality and a joint commitment to student success.

Do these indicators describe your board? If you would like to hear more, please consider attending a free session being held during the New School Board Member Institute on Friday, Feb. 13. This engaging discussion will cover all of the Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards.

This session is appropriate for new and experienced board members, as well as superintendents. You can register today for this and other learning opportunities taking place on Friday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Henry Center in Lansing.

You can also read the full CPE report here.

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