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Governance
Time to Look at Ourselves
May 24, 2010

When Charter Boards set written performance expectations, the major focus should always be in the area of Student Achievement, although establishing expectations in the Management area is also important because it speaks to issues of prudent and ethical administrative actions.

But the “expectations” model for governance promoted by the MACSB has a special feature that helps Board focus on an often overlooked area….the performance of the Board itself!

Most Boards seldom engage in any form of true introspection, usually because there are no standards or criteria to measure against.  But MACSB offers a practical way to make it happen.  It is done by establishing written expectations for Board performance and assessing performance against those expectations.

In this area, a Board establishes expectations for itself in the following categories:

  • Governance Approach & Style
  • Meeting Agenda/Protocol
  • Board President
  • Board Code of Conduct
  • Board Committees
  • Governance Education
  • Administrator Relations

These expectations are not a substitute for or redundant to Board bylaws.  They are quite different (but complementary) in that they address topics directly related to “governance”  rather than structure.  And these performance expectations are also monitored and self-assessed by the Board based on internal survey of individual Board members.

Performance reports and assessments in this area are typically produced two times a year, each covering about half of the expectations categories.  Again, Boards can conduct these assessments on their own or tap into the MACSB automated reporting system that produces the survey documents for completion by each Board member and then compiles the results for Board deliberation.

An important by-product of these Board performance expectations is that they also serve as a helpful screening process for selecting Board candidates.  Rather than expect candidates to face the traditional tasks of “figuring out” what membership means and wading through the 1,000 page policy manual that current members have long forgotten, candidates see the written, Board-developed standards that show how your Board intends to operate. 

Board expectations also help preclude membership by those with strange or unknown agendas.  They know what is expected and what isn’t!  In other words, candidates and current members can substantively determine if there is likely a good “fit”…kind of a Match.com for member recruitment.

The value of this approach cannot be overstated.  Continuity of the Board’s governance style is essential to effective performance.  And many Boards have paid the price for arrival of a member with delusions of individual authority, especially when coupled with a hidden agenda and no real knowledge of how the Board operates.

In future Board Bits issues we will provide examples of how Boards can address a variety of issues and decisions based on the governance philosophy that underlies the MACSB Leadership Governance model.

Other Bits
05-24-2010
Time to Look at Ourselves
04-27-2010
Governance, Management and You!
03-15-2010
Here We Go
03-08-2010
Doing the Job!
03-02-2010
Picking up where we left off...
01-29-2010
Where it all Begins!