Exceptional
governance teams
School governance in an era of accountability
Phil Gore, M.Ed.
Director, Leadership Developme...
Preparation
Governance
Teams
Improving
Governance
WSSDA
What specific preparation or
experience have you had that equips
you to work for five democratically
selected citizens, wh...
Options for working with a
board
• Manage them well
• Keep them uninformed
• Keep them overwhelmed
• Avoid them
• Coddle t...
There is significant potential to develop school
boards and build their capacity for exceptional
governance that improves ...
What are characteristics of an
exceptional school board?
Washington School Board
Standards
1. Provide responsible school board governance.
2. Set and communicate high expectations...
Responsible School
Governance
Communicate high
expectations for student
learning with clear goals &
plans
Hold school dist...
The short story
• There is no ‘one size fits all’ for exceptional
governance, and school boards need latitude
to perform t...
What is exceptional?
Characteristics of Exceptional School Boards
1. Strong commitment to high expectations for all
studen...
The Latest Data
Highly Qualified School Boards Survey
• National survey of board members &
superintendents, conducted late...
Exceptional school boards are committed
to high expectations for each student.
VISION
Some combination of leaders—school board
members, superintendents and community
members—acknowledged poor performance
with...
Set and communicate
high expectations for
student learning with
clear goals and plans
for meeting those
expectations.
STAN...
In districts with higher levels of student
achievement, the school board is aligned
with and supportive of the non-negotia...
Hold school
district
accountable for
meeting student
learning
expectations
Accountability
Traditionally, boards have received ‘reports,’ usually
annually. This work differs … by involving more
frequent data study...
ALIGNMENT
Effective boards
provide supports for
teacher collaboration
and professional
development
Districts adopted new approaches to
professional development. To varying
degrees, they all rejected the traditional,
one-t...
CONTINUOUS
IMPROVEMENT
Exceptional
boards take part
in team
development
and training
• Be considerably more knowledgeable about
district programs and practices
• Have a clearer sense of what they wanted
to a...
The board members found it necessary to
create time to learn together as a board
team and engage in extensive dialogue wit...
Our mission
The Washington State School
Directors’ Association provides
leadership, advocacy and
services to support publi...
Communicating
SCHOOL
BOARDS
MATTER
(and so does
board learning)
The school board is in a unique
position to enact policies that will
catalyze the coordination of the building-
and distri...
References
Carol, L.N., Cunningham, L.L. Danzberger, J.P., Kirst,
M.W., McCloud, B.A., & Usdan, M.D. (1986). School
boards...
Land, D. (2002). Local school boards under review, their
role and effectiveness in relation to students’ academic
achievem...
Snipes, J., Doolittle, F. & C. Herlihy. (2002). Foundation for
success: Case studies for how urban school districts
improv...
Wsu presentation 11 19 print
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  • What experiences prepare you for one of the most challenging functions of a superintendent?
    What are highly effective governance teams?
    What does it take to cultivate and sustain effective governance.
    Who is WSSDA? How can we help?

  • Key work history—a decade
  • The survey paints a broad picture (but we can’t fit it all in today)
    Demographics (age, gender, income, etc.)
    Elections, campaigns, motivation to run
    Use of technology
    Time spent on board work
    …and more
  • Research says…
    High expectations for all students; no excuses
    Passion and commitment—an urgency to improve
    Active choice— ‘we decided to act’
  • Ethical and moral pursuit of high and equitable achievement
    Urgency and commitment
    ‘catalytic event’
    Proactive commitment
    Shared equity beliefs
  • “Defining a clear and narrow focus for achievement—picking a few goals and sticking with them”
  • Ethical and moral pursuit of high and equitable achievment
    Urgency and commitment
    ‘catalytic event’
    Proactive commitment
    Shared equity beliefs
  • Ethical and moral pursuit of high and equitable achievment
    Urgency and commitment
    ‘catalytic event’
    Proactive commitment
    Shared equity beliefs
  • Wsu presentation 11 19 print

    1. 1. Exceptional governance teams School governance in an era of accountability Phil Gore, M.Ed. Director, Leadership Development Services www.wssda.org
    2. 2. Preparation Governance Teams Improving Governance WSSDA
    3. 3. What specific preparation or experience have you had that equips you to work for five democratically selected citizens, who may have no specific knowledge of education?
    4. 4. Options for working with a board • Manage them well • Keep them uninformed • Keep them overwhelmed • Avoid them • Coddle them • Confuse them • Lead them • Serve them • Partner with them
    5. 5. There is significant potential to develop school boards and build their capacity for exceptional governance that improves student learning. – Knowledge about what matters most in school improvement – Active engagement in key board roles that make a difference in the effectiveness of schools – Policy-making that influences the system around what matters – Leadership development and teambuilding The superintendent as a servant-leader
    6. 6. What are characteristics of an exceptional school board?
    7. 7. Washington School Board Standards 1. Provide responsible school board governance. 2. Set and communicate high expectations for student learning with clear goals and plans for meeting those expectations. 3. Create conditions district-wide for student and staff success. 4. Hold school district accountable for meeting student learning expectations. 5. Engage local community and represent the values and expectations they hold for their schools.
    8. 8. Responsible School Governance Communicate high expectations for student learning with clear goals & plans Hold school district accountable for student learning expectations Create conditions for student and staff success Engage community & represent the values and expectations they hold for their schools.
    9. 9. The short story • There is no ‘one size fits all’ for exceptional governance, and school boards need latitude to perform their roles, but … • School boards today see improving student learning as a priority, even in difficult financial times. Many are actively setting goals for improvement, creating the conditions for quality teaching and providing meaningful and supportive accountability for results.
    10. 10. What is exceptional? Characteristics of Exceptional School Boards 1. Strong commitment to high expectations for all students (5 studies) 2. Maintains focus on clear goals for achievement and instructional improvement (8 studies) 3. Establishes accountability systems for monitoring and evaluating progress (5-7 studies) 4. Provides supports for professional development (7 studies) 5. Takes part in team development and training (4 studies)
    11. 11. The Latest Data Highly Qualified School Boards Survey • National survey of board members & superintendents, conducted late 2009 • 1,020 respondents in 418 school districts nationwide, in districts enrolling 1,000+ students • NSBA, IASB/ISBF, Thomas Fordham Institute; funded by grant from the Wallace Foundation • Many questions aligned with Iowa Lighthouse research on effective school governance • Results to be released publicly at the end of 2010
    12. 12. Exceptional school boards are committed to high expectations for each student. VISION
    13. 13. Some combination of leaders—school board members, superintendents and community members—acknowledged poor performance without placing blame, accepted ownership of difficult challenges, and began seeking solutions … What distinguished the districts was not the existence of a vision, but the way it was actively used. (Learning First Alliance) Beyond Islands of Excellence
    14. 14. Set and communicate high expectations for student learning with clear goals and plans for meeting those expectations. STANDARDS ASSESSMENT ALIGNMENT
    15. 15. In districts with higher levels of student achievement, the school board is aligned with and supportive of the non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction. The board ensures that these goals remain the top priorities in the district and that no other initiatives detract attention or resources from accomplishing these goals. School District Leadership that Works: The Effect of Superintendent Leadership on Student Achievement, by Timothy Waters and Robert Marzano. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, 2006. McREL Research
    16. 16. Hold school district accountable for meeting student learning expectations Accountability
    17. 17. Traditionally, boards have received ‘reports,’ usually annually. This work differs … by involving more frequent data study, on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The board and staff then have time to take corrective action (two to four times per year). This combination of studying student achievement data more frequently and having implementation data about improvement initiatives gave the Lighthouse boards a much clearer picture of where the district is headed … and what kinds of supports are required to accelerate improvement. • -Iowa School Boards Foundation, Preliminary Report on Lighthouse II, 2007 Lighthouse Research
    18. 18. ALIGNMENT Effective boards provide supports for teacher collaboration and professional development
    19. 19. Districts adopted new approaches to professional development. To varying degrees, they all rejected the traditional, one-time workshop approach to developing teacher skill. Instead, they implemented coherent, district-organized strategies to improve instruction, using research-based principles of professional development. (Learning First Alliance) Beyond Islands of Excellence
    20. 20. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Exceptional boards take part in team development and training
    21. 21. • Be considerably more knowledgeable about district programs and practices • Have a clearer sense of what they wanted to accomplish, based on a set of firmly held values and beliefs • Engage in activities that provided them with opportunities to articulate and discuss these values and beliefs LaRocque & Coleman found successful boards were more likely to:
    22. 22. The board members found it necessary to create time to learn together as a board team and engage in extensive dialogue with each other in order to establish consensus about what was most important to accomplish, to understand what it would take to succeed, and to determine at what cost they were willing to pursue it. Lighthouse Research
    23. 23. Our mission The Washington State School Directors’ Association provides leadership, advocacy and services to support public school directors’ efforts to improve student learning.
    24. 24. Communicating SCHOOL BOARDS MATTER (and so does board learning)
    25. 25. The school board is in a unique position to enact policies that will catalyze the coordination of the building- and district-level resources so essential for school reform to succeed. Indeed, school boards are the linchpin of the local governance structure.… If ‘powerful’ comprehensive school reforms are to be sustained, a persuasive case can be made that they will have ‘shallow roots’ without the support and understanding of local authorities focused on student achievement. – Michael Usdan, Kappan, March 2010
    26. 26. References Carol, L.N., Cunningham, L.L. Danzberger, J.P., Kirst, M.W., McCloud, B.A., & Usdan, M.D. (1986). School boards: Strengthening grass roots leadership. Washington, DC: Institute for Educational Leadership. Goodman, R.H., Fulbright, L., & Zimmerman, W.G. (1997). Getting there from here: School board-superintendent collaboration: Creating a school governance team capable of raising student achievement. Arlington, VA: Education Research Service & New England School Development Council. Iowa Association of School Boards. Lighthouse Studies 1996-2008.
    27. 27. Land, D. (2002). Local school boards under review, their role and effectiveness in relation to students’ academic achievement. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk. LaRocque, L. and P. Coleman (1993). The politics of excellence: Trustee leadership and school district ethos. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research XXXIX(4), 449-475. Petersen, G.J. & Fusarelli, LD. (2008). Systemic leadership amidst turbulence. In T. Alsbury (Ed.), The future of school board governance: Relevancy and revelation (pp. 115-134). Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
    28. 28. Snipes, J., Doolittle, F. & C. Herlihy. (2002). Foundation for success: Case studies for how urban school districts improve student achievement. Washington, DC: Council of the Great City Schools. Togneri, W., & Anderson, S. E. (2003). Beyond islands of excellence: What districts can do to improve instruction and achievement in all schools. Washington, DC: Learning First Alliance. Waters, T. & Marzano R. (2006). School district leadership that works: The effect of superintendent leadership on student achievement. Denver: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.
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