Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BOE 08-09 Self-Evaluation: Board Operations & Board Performance


I was thinking that this little exercise, sharing with you our Board Self-Evaluation, is actually a good way to inform the public of just what it is the Board of Education is expected to do, at least as far as the state is concerned. The statements throughout this document can be read as a checklist of the activities and priorities the state expects us to have. Anyway...

Remember, click here to see what the ratings of 1-2-3-4 mean. Also, remember that the presentation and discussion of this evaluation took place at the Board meeting on 7/20, and you can watch the video by clicking here.

Section V: Board Operations:

Our Board:
1. holds our meetings in compliance with applicable statutes, policies and bylaws. 3.8 (3)
2. provides a climate that allows free, open and orderly discussion by all members at our meetings. 3.7 (2)
3. develops and utilizes skills in teamwork, consensus-building, collaborative problem solving and decision-making. 3.0 (2)
4. uses good decision-making processes, acting only after all appropriate information has been received and studies. 3.2 (2)
5. acts only after giving administration time to gather information and make recommendations. 3.4 (3)
6. respects the administration's leadership by thoughtfully deliberating on recommendations. 3.4 (3)
7. provides time, funding and opportunity for orienting and updating our members on local, county, state and federal levels in accordance with statutory travel regulations. 3.2 (3)
8. Our board method of governance contributes to overall effectiveness and efficiency of the board. 3.2 (2)
9. Our board method of governance has clearly defined bylaws. 3.0 (2)
10. Our board method of governance lessens the total work of board members. 3.1 (3)
11. Our board method of governance ensures appropriate communication to the board. 3.2 (2)

As a board member, I:
A. introduce new issues through the agenda process, allowing sufficient time for appropriate study. 3.0 (3)
B. recognize the importance of teamwork, problem solving and effective decision-making. 3.4 (3)
C. attend workshops to increase my effectiveness as a board member. 2.4 (3)

OK, so this is where we see some differences of opinion...and I wish we knew which opinions belong to Board members and which are administrators. I guess it's good that everything falls into "adequate" or above -- except for one, about our "clearly defined bylaws," which some rated "unsatisfactory." Something else to follow-up on...

Section VI: Board Performance:

Our Board members:
1. recognize that authority rests with the board as a whole, sitting in a legally authorized board meeting. 3.9 (4)
2. make every effort to attend all board meetings, coming prepared and having done their homework. 3.8 (4)
3. recognize the need for, and the importance of, confidentiality. 3.8 (4)
4. work together in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. 3.1 (4)
5. ensure that all members have input into decisions. 3.4 (4)
6. avoid even the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest. 3.9 (4)
7. operates in accordance with the board member's Code of Ethics and the Ethics Act. 3.9 (4)

As a board member, I:
A. make no personal promises nor take any private action. 3.6 (4)
B. make every effort to attend all meetings, having done my homework and prepared to contribute. 3.8 (4)
C. maintain the confidentiality of board proceedings. 3.6 (4)
D. am respectful of everyone at our meetings and I listen with an open mind. 3.6 (4)
E. adhere to ethical standards. 3.6 (4)

Clearly, we feel we operate ethically, honestly and confidentially. I'm a bit concerned that someone feels there is a lack of mutual respect (hence the lower score for #4). Unfortunately, the confidentiality of this process makes it hard to follow-up and resolve those issues, at least in this process. Something to work on...

The next post on this topic will cover Board/Superintendent Relationships and Board/Staff Relationships.

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