via Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Uta Barth, “Untitled (07.5)”, 2007
Opening reception 6-8pm
Oct 18 – Nov 24
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street
Sculptures by Michael DeLucia, Trenton Duerksen, Daniele Frazier, Petrova Giberson, Eva LeWitt, Michael Smith
Opening reception 7-9pm
Oct 19 – Nov 21
4 East 2nd Street
Opening reception 6-8pm
Oct 20 – Nov 21
Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 West 22nd Street
Pre-meeting agenda planning.(BOARD-SAVVY SUPERINTENDENT)
School Administrator April 1, 2007 | Townsend, Rene Board of education meetings are high-stakes events. Ask the superintendent who was so busy he missed an agenda planning meeting. To his shock and dismay a newspaper reporter spotted a highly controversial item (one the superintendent would never have let appear on the agenda) and came ready for headline news. That one item became a national story, one that ate up the superintendent’s time for the next several months.
I know this too well as I followed my colleague’s travails in the newspaper over several months.
Because school districts exist to help all students achieve at high levels, the board meeting agenda must support the district’s teaching and learning mission. Preparation increases the likelihood that a board meeting will go well and advance the district’s mission.
“As the lesson plan guides the classroom teacher, the board meeting agenda is the centerpiece of effective board meetings. The agenda is the work product of the superintendent,” Gloria Johnston, superintendent of the West Contra Costa, Calif., Unified School District, said in a 2002 book, Eight at the Top.
Superintendents know effective board meetings do not happen by chance. They start with thorough, detailed, pre-meeting planning. Two useful preparation tools are the 12-month calendar and an agenda planning team.
A 12-Month Calendar A calendar that covers a full year is a big-picture snapshot of the significant issues facing the school board. A long-range plan starts with the end in mind, followed by the execution of short-range steps. The superintendent and staff develop and use this tool, formatted to fit on one piece of paper, to prepare agendas and agenda items.
There are two general categories of agenda items: the high-priority infrequent ones and the routine ones addressing the district’s day-to-day business. The calendar captures high-priority topics to focus the trustees on the district’s critical work and to minimize distractions. go to site meeting agenda template
One superintendent used the 12-month calendar effectively to serve multiple constituencies–the staff, board members, the news media and the public.
She and her team planned pro-actively and reduced the likelihood of important items falling through the cracks. The team looked at the calendar to determine where and when a new item fit in the year’s work–or whether it did. Staff developed their own, detailed calendars to guide their annual work. see here meeting agenda template
Using the calendar, board members suggested topics for the full board. It also helped them monitor themselves and prevented them from adding the latest great idea that would take the superintendent and staff away from achieving the board’s established yearly goals.
Finally, the 12-month calendar was an effective way to communicate the district’s yearly priorities with the public and media.
Team Planning Planning well is the first step to a successful school board meeting, just as it is for a successful classroom lesson. Effective superintendents involve key staff members in developing the board agenda and the individual items.
Composition of the planning group is both practical and political. In small districts the team is only the superintendent and administrative assistant. Planning groups in mid-size and larger districts often include the following: district office administrators, division heads, school site leaders, representatives from employee associations and parent groups. Ask the key question: Who must be at the meeting so we can achieve our mission and goals?
The role of board president varies. Some presidents are active in developing the agenda. Others prefer the superintendent and staff handle everything and check in on relatively few matters. In other districts, the officers or a board subcommittee are on the planning team.
The superintendent must delineate the roles and expectations clearly for all planning members. While they represent their area’s perspective, they are also charged with looking at the good of the entire district.
Each planning team member plays the “friendly critic,” asking probing questions and offering perspectives. They pose potential board or public questions or reactions–a sort of dress rehearsal for the meeting itself.
Final Authority A special note regarding the superintendent’s administrative assistant, the one who prepares and assembles the board agenda and packet. Like the superintendent, assistants communicate with a range of constituents providing valuable insights to aid planning. Superintendents who insist everyone, including themselves, meet deadlines are particular favorites among administrative assistants.
No matter who is involved, the superintendent is responsible for the final product–the board meeting agenda. To move the district forward and avoid time-consuming distractions, such as my colleague experienced in missing a controversial agenda item, planning for the board meeting and the meeting itself is a high-stakes activity the superintendent cannot delegate.
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