Role of the Board Chair(PowerPoint)
The Role of School Board
(information excerpted from the NSBA Key Work of School Boards Guidebook)
These are challenging times for public education, and even more challenging is the work of
local school board members. Today's local board of education is the leader on the front lines
of public education. The board is responsible for putting in place the proper keystones for
students to learn and achieve at the highest level possible. Board members' primary agenda
is raising student achievement and involving the community in the attainment of that goal.
In an effort to help local school boards best fulfill their role, the National School Boards
Association has articulated the Key Work of School Boards, a framework for raising student
achievement through community engagement. It is designed to give school boards concrete
action tools to help them be effective in their roles as community leaders. The framework is
based on the premise that excellence in the classroom begins with excellence in the
The board envisions the community education future and then formulates the goals,
defines the outcomes, and sets the course for its public schools. Vision is not about what we
are, but what we want to be. Vision captures a critical dimension of dynamic systems. For
school boards, it is about where we are going and what kind of school systems we are trying
to create now and for the future.
Closely related to vision is mission. At one level, the mission of an organization is what it is created to do. In effective organizations, the mission statement also captures and reflects the core values and beliefs that guide the organization and its members in pursuit of stated aims and goals.
Another major component of a systems approach is the establishment of standards
for performance. In order to know whether we are performing in accordance with
expectations, we need to establish specific and clearly delineated standards. Those
standards need to be tied in realistic ways to the expectations of the community.
Promoting outstanding student performance based on clearly delineated standards is
central to the key work of school boards. The next step is to determine how well
students are doing in meeting those standards. School boards need information in
order to make decisions, not only about how well they are doing, but also about what
may be needed in order to ensure that system goals will be met.
Increasingly, local school districts are being held accountable for what happens to
students and how well they perform on a variety of assessment measures. Local school
boards, similarly, are being held accountable for student performance. An example is
the Act 60 and NCLB requirements that schools annually report student performance results to the
Alignment is another key component of a systems approach to school board leadership.
A critical role of the board is to establish high quality standards and system priorities focused on enhancing student achievement. The board is responsible to create the conditions
under which excellent teaching and student performance will take place. The next critical
step is to align the organization by harnessing the system's resources to the achievement
of the system's standards and priorities.
CLIMATE AND CULTURE
Climate is an essential aspect of system culture. Climate is a by-product of culture and
is dependent on it. Leading-edge organizations are very conscious of climate because
of its powerful effect on behavior. Effective school boards give priority attention to
climate as well, because it factors importantly in what students and teachers are able
to accomplish. Climate also is a critical determinant of how parents and others in the
community view schools.
Relationships are an important dimension in effective organizations. We know that
when individuals work together effectively, the product of their efforts will almost always
be superior to the efforts of any single individual. In the Information Age, relationships
are not just important, they are critical. The quality of relationships in an organization
will largely determine how well that organization produces.
The board causes the continuous assessment of all conditions affecting education and
ensures that schools are accountable for results in student learning. Boards monitor
student achievement, make program corrections as necessary, keep the public informed
of the status of education programs and progress, and ensure that all functions of the
school work together well.
Contact Vermont School Boards Association
1-800-244-8722 or 802-223-3580