We know that good governance means you’ve got a good framework for decision-making, set responsibilities and roles for employees and constituents, and a mission to provide students with an education that will set them up for success.
But what about great governance? Taking that extra step towards peak performance boils down to two key factors: is your school board organized, and is your integrity always at 100%?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell. No two school boards govern the exact same way. Governance guidelines are based on anything from past practice, to by-law rules, to pure policy. There’s no baseline for what creating great governance looks like - only a set of expectations that you need to fulfill, and a checklist of results that should be coming to fruition.
So here are some actionable tips for maintaining great governance at your K12 School Board:
1. Maintain Clarity
Roles, responsibilities, and goals should always be outlined with the steps it will take to produce prime productivity. Do your employees have departmental and personalized goals? Is your mission communicated before, during, and after onboarding? Are your rules and policies accessible and clearly laid out? Are you always improving your communication skills and departmental processes?
The first step to maintaining a productive, effective work environment is making sure your expectations are set, clear, and met - that way you can make sure there are plans in place that ensure you’re reaching your goals. Maybe you need to invest in new software for budgeting? Maybe you need to create methods for receiving feedback from students on the quality of their education? When goals are clearly defined, surpassing them becomes infinitely easier.
2. Ensure Transparency
If you promote transparency at your school board, you’re also promoting integrity. In the grand scheme of things, it’s important that you track your compliance with provincial statutes, regulations, and fiduciary responsibilities. Make sure you’re working with technology systems that make compliance requirements easy to maintain and don't bog down your administrators with complicated processes that might lower their morale—and their output.
But the importance of transparency doesn’t stop there. Promote a transparent environment between your employees, and between different departments and roles. Allowing employees to have access to your organization’s information means you're committing to maintaining a system that works for you. You're also committing to having information that’s up to date, precisely maintained, and consistently compliant.
3. Commit to Meticulousness
Meticulousness doesn’t always mean taking a long time. The most meticulous organizations do whatever they can to become efficient. Find the processes and systems that make the work fly by, and that help to make long processes accessible. It shouldn’t take you days to compile reports, you shouldn't have to deal with long file libraries that keep on crashing, and switching between disparate programs and sources to find the information you need will only slow you down.
Did you know that employees spend 30-40% of their workday looking for information in files and emails? Think of all the time they could be working on their responsibilities if you cut this percentage down. This ties back to #1! If you’re missing your goals, it’s time to look for better solutions. If you’re achieving them, it’s time to find the methods that will help you move forward even faster. The road to greatness is paved with billboards that read, “Never settle for less!”
If you don’t have great governance at your school board, what do you have to lose? A lot, actually! This includes the people that make your organization what it is and, in worst case scenarios, sometimes even your reputation. Having unhappy, overworked employees leads to compromised, rushed work - and that could reflect badly on you. If you want an effective organization, give your employees knowledge, support, and clarity. And if you draw the unlucky audit card, you need to be able to be prepared—not scared.
If your K12 school board is struggling with achieving great governance, it might be time to reassess the quality of the technology you're using to manage your finance and administraton.
Sparkrock's All-in-one solution makes it easy for school boards of all sizes to manage admin from front to back. If you'd like more information, feel free to reach out to us to schedule a demo. Or, if you're not ready to talk to a sales person yet, check out our events page for information about our upcoming webinars that highlight the main features of our solution.
What are other ways to improve the governance of your K12 school board? Let us know in the comments below.