Meeting management for school boards of directors encompasses the different processes, materials, relevant parties and tools that contribute to successful board meetings and drive smart decision-making. The key objectives of public education board meetings are to keep the district informed on how and why decisions are being made as well as advance the goals that the board sets in place to improve student success and school operations. For these reasons, meetings must be managed in a way that fuels efficiency and effectiveness at every turn. Board members are busy people who have a lot on their plates and very critical responsibilities to fulfill. In order to make positive improvements for the district and perform consistently well to meet the expectations of the citizens that elected them, school board members must hone their meeting practices to align ensure that things actually get done and the right decisions are made.
Simply getting through all of the agenda items does not denote a successful school board meeting. Successful school board meetings will communicate high expectations for student achievement and a comprehensive roadmap on how to best meet them, show strong accountability in regards to applicable open meeting laws and other requirements, demonstrate an openness to collaboration with the staff and the community at large, leverage data points as a way of tracking progress on goals, show united leadership between the board and the superintendent, and exemplify effective board trainings on governing roles and responsibilities. All of these key components characterize school boards with outstanding long-term results. Strong meeting management skills are necessary when looking to accomplish goals and meet the needs of the district.
Though some school boards may still claim that their meeting management methods are effective and deliver the outcomes they need, this is often a result of not knowing that haven’t even reached their full potential yet. Operating only within manual, paper-bound processes makes it very difficult to envision a world without paper, something that could even be worrisome for school board members stuck in their ways. However, the stark differences in productivity and effectiveness when comparing paper meetings to paperless meetings point to the logical conclusion that the right digital tools will automate and streamline the entire meeting management process. Today’s school boards are tasked with keeping the public’s best interests in mind – but in an increasingly digitized world, citizens now expect to be kept informed on the digital channels they use each day.
Digitizing the school boardroom may seem daunting to school boards still operating in more traditional processes, but the benefits they can reap from making the digital switch are undeniable. The process of creating, collating and distributing board packets all through manual methods takes valuable time and resources away from school boards, and is also hard on the environment. By leveraging digital tools that automate and streamline meeting management, school boards can save time, money and be kinder to the natural world around them.
Board governance is a key aspect of meeting management that dictates how school board members exercise a guiding influence over how the district functions and what they do to drive initiatives centered around achieving long-term student success goals. Strong meeting management would not be possible without equally strong board governance, calling on school board members to familiarize themselves with key governance practices and look for ways to apply them strategically during meetings to ensure that core issues are discussed and the right decisions are made. Running a smooth and purposeful school board meeting, however, is not something that just comes naturally to most school board members. With this in mind, developing trainings and programs for school board members to hone their governing skills and learn better ways of fulfilling good board governance standards is a smart strategy for ensuring great meeting management.
School board members are entrusted with the core responsibilities of governance and oversight. Within the realm of governance, board members are expected to pinpoint areas of improvement for students and the district at large, and ensure that student achievement efforts are seen through and drive needed results. The National School Board Association (NSBA), however, reports that two-thirds of school board members do see an urgent need to improve student achievement, while 90% of school board members also fear that they have an overly narrow focus on student achievement. In an effort to make board meetings as successful as possible, board members can follow the best practices for meeting management to exemplify the core characteristics that make up a great school board.