Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The summer months are coming to a swift conclusion.   The month of July may seem like a slow period to the average patron.  Most are not aware of the importance of the period between the conclusion of school and the beginning of school for students and staff.   Your district patrons in an attempt to be polite ask repeatedly of your board office staff, “What do you do in the summer?” 
Let’s attempt to answer that question.  The budget has been scrutinized and created.  Your superintendent has traveled to Topeka to have the proposed budget reviewed by the budget experts at KSDE.  Special board meetings are being scheduled to review the budget.  You are preparing for your budget hearing and eventually the district’s budgets are submitted to the county clerk. 
Many of your principals are frantically attempting to hire new staff.  The special education cooperatives are desperately trying to fill their classified positions. New board members have started their service, new board presidents have been placed, and new superintendents are beginning their tenure in your district.  New board of education clerks have started and are learning the position on the fly.
In the midst of the summer chaos, your district office staff is attempting to get contracts and work agreements produced and mailed for signatures.   They are trying to make sense of the changes in your health insurance so they can be the resident experts to answer your employee’s questions.
How can KASB assist your board members and district office staff with their important tasks?  The KASB Leadership staff has been busy this summer by assisting with eight new board member workshops, conducting two new board clerk trainings, numerous whole board trainings, principal evaluation trainings, numerous short term goal and expectations meetings with new superintendents and local boards.  Board leader workshops are planned the first week of August.   These workshops and trainings are designed to assist you no matter your job title.

What did you do this summer? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Becoming a great board member

The elections are over and new board members are in place.  The next steps are to build that great team that creates a productive and focused board culture.  The following checklist may help the school board and administrative team start the conversation that leads to student success:

Great school board members have a clear vision for the district.
They set the vision and goals, and measure the success of the district against the goals

Great school board members communicate their actions to the community.
Through public discourse and written reports, great school board members keep the public informed of the district’s progress and challenges

Great school board members work as a team.
They collaborate well with others and are respectful of their fellow board members and superintendent.

Great school board members adopt a fiscally sound district budget. 
They pay attention to finances and regularly monitor the fiscal health of the district.

Great school board members focus on what is best for all students.
They focus on student achievement and implementing policies that will ensure success for all students.

Great school board members advocate at the local, state and national level for public education.
They take advantage of opportunities to communicate the needs of public schools to other levels of government and advocate for strong public schools.

There is an old saying that makes a big difference related to leading a district and a community. 

“To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together."

Find a way to work together to help each student be successful.