Shorewood School Board Heading Out Into the Community
Dear Shorewood Schools Families,
We’d like to start by saying that the Shorewood School Board is thrilled to welcome new Superintendent Bryan Davis to our wonderful community. We have no doubt that he and his family will be a great addition to the District. Click here to see the Introduction Video to Superintendent Davis and His Family.
During the superintendent search process, the Board discussed moving to a model of governance that would help improve school board meetings and increase the Board’s connections with the community outside of meetings. These discussions led the Board to adopt a Coherence Governing Model.
We feel that while we have a well-functioning district and are working hard to achieve our mission, the Board will be able to enhance its leadership and governing potential by changing to a Coherence Governance Model. The model requires board members to create “linkages” within the community to highlight the work being completed by the District and to get feedback from community members on how to move the District forward. Board members will create these “linkages” by connecting with groups throughout the community that are already in session. Common linkages include Booster Clubs, PTO’s, Service Organizations, etc. One Board member and the Superintendent will meet with each “linkage” twice a year (Fall and Spring) to develop a constant connection between Board members and the community.
If you are part of a group that would like to become a “linkage” with the School Board, please contact Kim Grady, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-963-6901.
The ultimate goal of the Coherence Governance Model is to provide the Board an effective and efficient way to fulfill its responsibility as representatives of Shorewood School District citizens. This will help to both establish and then continue to hold the organization responsible for meeting stated outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Coherence Governance Model
1. Why did we move towards a Coherence Governance Model?
As a governing board, we decided that more of our time and attention should be focused on setting direction for student achievement and clear performance standards for staff. We also wanted to be more effective at monitoring results and enhancing our interaction with community members.
2. What are the major areas of Coherence Governance?
Coherence Governance provides a framework to enable boards to lead the organization through policy, rather than the usual custom of board approval of administrative recommendations. The Coherent Governance board usually manages to effectively guide the organization with a policy manual that includes not more than 35-40 policies, total. The policies are organized into four categories, each with a specific focus (from The Aspen Group (http://aspengroup.org/)):
- Results: Defines organizational products and outcomes. These policies clearly state the “bottom line” which the organization is expected to achieve over time. What results? For whom? At what cost? The Results policies become the Superintendent’s and the organization’s performance targets. They also form the basis for judging organizational and superintendent performance.
- Operational Expectations: The Board can, through policy, control day-to-day operational decisions without making them. It does so through these OE policies, which define both the nonnegotiable expectations and clear boundaries within which the superintendent and staff must operate. They clarify the latitude and authority the Board vests in the Superintendent and staff. These policies articulate the actions and decisions the Board would find either absolutely necessary or totally unacceptable.
Once stated, the Superintendent is authorized to make all other operational decisions as long as they fall within the Board’s stated values. This process enables boards to articulate with absolute clarity the Superintendent’s decision-making authority.
- Governance Process: The Board defines its own work and how it will be carried out. These policies clearly state the expectations the Board has for individual and collective behavior, and also clarifies the role and function of any board committee.
- Board-Superintendent Relationship: The Board stipulates in policy how authority is delegated by the Board to the Superintendent, and how the Superintendent’s performance will be evaluated.
These polices are created to capture the Board’s values and beliefs (through the process of “linking” back to the owners of the District) and it is the process of creating and consistently reviewing these explicit expectations within the policies that provide the clear and empowering direction for the staff to work towards the stated results. Each of these four sections of the model plays a very important role that influences the effectiveness of this governance structure.
3. How long will it take to implement Coherence Governance?
As this is a relatively new governance model for the District, the Board is committing to invest the next year (2015/2016) in trainings and workshops.
4. How will the community be involved Coherence Governance?
Linkage is the term used in Coherence Governance Model to refer to an ongoing process for connecting with, and gathering input from, various stakeholder groups. School Board members and the Superintendent will be setting up community groups to meet with every Fall and Spring to discuss the accomplishments of the District, highlight what is coming up and listen to feedback from the community. If you have a community group you would like the Board to connect with, contact the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Kim Grady, email@example.com or call 414-963-6901.
There will still be time set aside for public comments at School Board meetings.
5. What happens to the current committee structure under Coherence Governance?
Under the Coherence Governance Model, the Board is directly involved in only one committee – the Policy committee that develops and monitors the 4 categories of policy outlined above. All other committees are developed by the Superintendent, and are narrow in focus. These committees will be comprised of a School Board member as a liaison, teacher/staff leaders, and administrators.
6. Who should I speak with if I want to learn more?
All of our School Board members are available to discuss Policy Governance with you. You can also contact Superintendent Bryan Davis.
Thank you for your continued dedication and support of our Shorewood School District.
Paru Shah, President
Shorewood Board of Education
Wednesday August, 12, 2015
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