As elected officials, school trustees serve a unique role within a school district. They are chosen by their community to provide governance and oversight of the local school district.
BCSTA Education Services –Resources to Support Trustees and Board Work
The Importance of Professional Learning
The leadership provided by both a board of education and individual trustees has a direct effect on the school district, its students and staff and, ultimately, the communities it serves. The work of leadership can be enhanced through ongoing professional learning. In fact, a commitment to continuing professional learning is part of trustees’ responsibility to serve their local communities in the best manner possible.
Trustees and boards of education have an exciting opportunity to impact the lives of citizens in their community: of children and youth directly, and of others indirectly. Most importantly, a board is responsible for ensuring local students receive the best kindergarten to grade 12 education possible.
How BCSTA Education Services can Support Professional Learning
Professional Development In-Service
Educational Services works closely with the Professional Learning Committee (PLC) and Board of Directors (BOD) to create two dynamic Professional Development conferences each year. The Trustee Academy (November/December) is a 2 and ½ day conference that focuses on themes to support the trustees. The AGM each spring has a 1 and ½ day professional learning component.
The Learning Guide and BCSTA HUB
The Learning Guide is provided to BCSTA member boards of education and their individual member trustees as a resource to support their work in all aspects of their roles, both formal and informal. It is not a prescribed curriculum, nor the sole source of information that boards or trustees should consider. The contents cover all aspects of the work of both boards and individual trustees. It provides a solid foundation of knowledge and skills on which successful governance, oversight and advocacy can be built.
BCSTA believes that supporting professional learning will help boards and individual trustees to better serve their communities and constituents. This position is supported by recent reports from the BC Office of the Auditor General, as well as other review agencies, such as the provincial Comptroller General’s office.
The Board Performance Review (BPR)
BCSTA offers a self-review process or Board Performance Review (BPR) to our member boards.
The Board of Education Performance Review provides a process embedded in a context of continuous improvement and it is intended to help improve governance, increase accountability, demonstrate leadership, and create a foundation for continuous improvement.
Setting the conditions that will provide a quality education for every student to succeed in school and life is the priority of every school trustee and every board. Trustees work effectively as a team to support the purpose of the board, as it is the board and not individual trustees that has the power to make a change and set direction. This mission, variously expressed by individual boards, connects to the following goals:
- Increasing overall levels of student achievement
- Meeting the needs and educational goals of all students
- Promoting community confidence in public education
The Board Performance Review process
- Each process is customized to meet the needs/requests of the specific board
- May include feedback from just board members or from senior staff and other district staff as well.
- The process is based on 100 question self-assessment review done by the trustees (and senior staff if board chooses).
- On date of survey process starts with a conference call to introduce survey. It is best for all participants to take the survey at the same time and Trustees/Senior Management will need computer access for this.
- The survey is done on “Survey Monkey” and takes about 1 hour.
- Facilitation time is booked to debrief the survey. Typically, boards set aside 4- 6 hours for this process– fit in a day, evening or weekends.
- BCSTA staff prepare and analyze the data for the facilitation day.
- The PowerPoint of the data is sent a few days before, so trustees and the Senior Management team can prepare.
- BCSTA role is to facilitate the process for the senior management team and board. The board owns the process and the plans.
Superintendent Performance Planning and Review
The board of education is responsible for the success of the school district. It exercises this responsibility by setting direction, providing oversight and making decisions through a governance process that includes defining roles, structures and processes. Critical in this governance role is recruiting, hiring and supporting the superintendent or CEO. The board delegates responsibility for the day to day management of the business of the school district to the superintendent and relies on its CEO to align daily operations with board direction. In meeting its responsibility for oversight, the board must conduct a regular performance evaluation of the superintendent.
While BCSTA doesn’t conduct senior staff reviews for boards it does provide support with resource documents. This resource will be available on the BCSTA HUB. BCSTA Education Services is happy to assist in providing suggestions for outside facilitators.
Financial Health for Districts (Audit Committees in K-12 sector)
BCSTA Education Services is working closely with a consultant to provide Financial resource materials for boards of education which include:
- BCSTA Guideline for Establishment of Audit Committees
- Template Terms of Reference and other tools to support implementation
- BCSTA Audit Committee Orientation modules
- Financial literacy training annual offerings
- Financial Health Working Group Materials – Audit Committee Toolkit
Developing District Strategic Plans
BCSTA Education Services is working closely with a consultant to provide strategic planning resource materials for boards of education. It is planned for these resources to be available to boards in the near future on the BCSTA HUB.
Other External Support Options
The Board may choose to work with an external facilitator rather than BCSTA staff. Areas might include: Strategic planning; Superintendent Performance; Board Growth Plans. BCSTA will support the board in searching out resources for this. BCSTA would work with the district to reimburse a portion of the costs (up to $2000/district) as follows: one day of preparation time for the facilitator; one day of presentation/facilitation time with your board; travel costs for the facilitator to come to your school district. If your board requests additional time and/or services, your school district would have to pay the additional costs. (We normally pay facilitators the BCSSA suggested per day rate of $750).