How to Improve Teaching and Learning by Educating Board Members

by | Mar 12, 2023

The governing body of an international school plays a critical role in shaping the school’s mission, vision, and values.

 

The board is responsible for establishing policies, providing financial oversight, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The school’s leadership team should be responsible for the day-to-day operations, while the board should offer guidance. However, it is important for the board to practice caution when providing guidance to avoid becoming too involved and taking ownership away from the Head of School.

The board’s role is to provide guidance and support, not to take over the school’s management. I bring this up as I have seen many schools where the board became overly involved in the day-to-day operations to the detriment of teaching and learning.

As a senior school leader with experience working with multiple schools on accreditation visits, I’ve learned the significance of bridging the communication gap between the school board and the school community. It’s crucial to provide guidance and education to the board about their role in shaping the school’s mission, vision, and values. This can help them understand the importance of leaving the day-to-day operations to the educational leadership team. This approach ensures the board’s involvement in critical decision-making, while simultaneously emphasizing their focus on establishing policies, providing financial oversight, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By recognizing the value of their guidance and support, the board can effectively collaborate with the leadership team and avoid overstepping boundaries that may hinder teaching and learning.

While working with boards, I am always looking for ways to educate them about the unique role that international schools play in the host country and the specific needs of our school community. This can be challenging, especially in countries where most board members have never attended international schools, and therefore need support in understanding how they differ from the schools they attended during their childhood. Therefore, educating a school governing board about the needs of the school is crucial in ensuring that board members are making informed decisions that support the school’s success.

Here are some strategies for educating a school governing board about the needs of the school

Provide a Comprehensive Overview

Provide board members with a comprehensive overview of the school’s mission, vision, and values. This will help them understand the school’s unique needs and the challenges faced by its community.

Share Data

Share data and research that highlights the academic, social, and emotional needs of the student population. This will help board members understand the current state of the school and where improvements are needed.

Organize School Visits

Organize visits to the school and other similar schools for the board members to observe firsthand the operations of the school and interact with the school community. This will give them a better understanding of the daily challenges and opportunities facing the school.

Invite Guest Speakers

Invite guest speakers to board meetings who can share their expertise and perspectives on issues relevant to the school community. This could include educational experts, community leaders, or representatives from other schools.

Foster Open Communication

Encourage open communication between board members and the school community. This can be done by providing opportunities for board members to meet with students, parents, and faculty to learn about their experiences and perspectives.

Educating the school board about the unique needs and challenges of the school community is crucial in ensuring that board members can make informed decisions that support the school’s mission and goals. When board members have a deep understanding of the school’s culture, they can better advocate for the needs of the community and allocate resources more effectively.

Written By Dwayne Primeau

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