Purposeful Planning - Board Training (Lake Superior State University)
WIN FOR KIDS THROUGH PURPOSEFUL PLANNING
& STAY THE COURSE BY EVALUATING THE PATH
LAKE SUPERIOR STATE UNIVERSITY CHARTER SCHOOLS
OFFICE ANNUAL ACADEMY BOARD RETREAT
JUNE 29, 2014
Win for kids through purposeful planning
• This module will explore the “big picture” questions
related to governance.
• We begin with the proposition that charter governance
presents a paradox – appointed board members may be
insulated from the hurly burly of politics, but the
appointment process contains its own challenges.
• We examine the need for collaboration.
• We will end with some tabletop exercises designed to
stimulate thought on collaboration and strategic
The charter governance paradox
• THE OPPORTUNITY: “charter school governance offers an exciting opportunity to
build a public school leadership team around shared values rather than around the
unpredictable results of school board elections.” Dr. Chenzi Grignano, Director of the
Charter Schools Project at Duquesne University. From Creating an Effective Charter
School Governing Board Guidebook.
• This perspective has pros and cons. On the upside, the selection of charter school directors by
appointment means that political issues in the selection process may be minimized. On the
down side, directors are not “battle tested” prior to being seated and there is no opportunity to
assess their vision, consensus-building, or other skills necessary for a successful school.
• THE CHALLENGE: effectively communicating to all stakeholders a shared vision for
the charter school that begins with the board.
• Boards tend to be recruited to fill seats during the charter application process. They come into
the process “ready to serve” but are not always armed with the vision of the school.
• There is often a difference between “founding” and “continuing” boards.
• Once the charter is granted, it is granted to the BOARD.
• Many times, the initial school leader is already chosen by the time the board is seated.
Shared accountability – a guarded trust
• The Board necessarily relies upon the operational team to discharge
• Boards have a tendency to get embroiled in micromanagement
when staff cannot function (nature abhors a vacuum).
• Sometimes, the ops team will want board members to become
embroiled. . .
• Mary Delagardelle, in “The Lighthouse Inquiry” outlines five roles of
Set clear expectations for outcomes of district improvement work;
Hold the board and staff accountable for meeting the expectations;
Create conditions for success;
Build the collective will to succeed;
Learn together as a board team.
I would add “grow together with administration and ops team.”
The school leadership team
• The school leader ideally implements the vision of the Board.
• Balance is everything
Boards that are too “hands off” guarantee themselves a rude wake-
Boards that are too “hands on” will micromanage and create a
political free-for all.
• Opportunity for collaboration begins with the first meeting with
the development team (for a new school) or with the existing
board and school leader (for an established school); this
opportunity continues as new board members or team leaders
Goals of board/leadership collaboration
Collaboration is necessary to ensure that
the two most important functions of the
Academy as a public institution are being
Are the kids learning?
Is the money safe?
A charter contract with clear performance goals
Effective and well-considered policies and guidelines
Strategic planning process
Tools to aid collaboration
Moving from good to great – an assessment
• Jim Collins’ watershed work, Good to Great, sets forth
the four prerequisites for a great organization:
Building Greatness to Last
• This framework is an excellent starting point for an
examination of the collaborative effort needed to
effectively create a space where kids learn and the
public money is safe.
• The Jim Collins framework is best implemented through the
use of his Diagnostic Tool.
• In the limited time we have, let’s make our own use of this
framework to stimulate some discussion.
• Tabletop Exercise: “Disciplined Thought”:
confront the brutal facts: discuss a time when the Academy had an
How did the Board and Leadership develop the will to prevail while,
at the same time, confronting the reality of the situation?
• Tabletop Exercise: “Disciplined Action”:
Does the Academy have a framework of responsibilities in which its
agents may act?
• how does that look for the Board?
• how does that look for the School Leader?
• How does that look for the ops team?
Using the tabletop exercises to
stimulate a strategic plan
• One way to think about strategic planning is in the
context of building an organization that can sustain
What does greatness look like for the Academy?
How will you know that you have the ingredients:
• Disciplined people?
• Disciplined thought?
• Disciplined action?
• Building greatness to last?
• Our next module will focus on the planning and
Planning and evaluation
• “How do we plan?” and “How do we evaluate?” both
presuppose a context – an objective – toward which the
planning is geared and in relation to which evaluation
• A great place to start in identifying the context is the
Academy’s charter contract.
Sample educational goals from an ISSU charter
Evaluation – a tabletop exercise
How can the evaluation methods and
instruments we have discussed inform a
robust dialogue that encourages collaboration
between the Board and leadership to foster
disciplined thought and disciplined action?
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