Orienting to School Board Work

If you are new to board service, this will be a useful resource in learning about boardsmanship. If you are an experienced board member, it will be a good refresher or provide an opportunity to seek answers to questions. In addition, your superintendent and experienced board members can acquaint you with your district’s unique strengths, challenges, programs, and issues. The following questions can stimulate your board’s thinking about school board service and your role as a board member.

These discussion questions can serve as a basis for learning during your first year on the board and a good review for the whole board at any time.

Questions for Your Board

  1. What trends seem to be in existence, and what does that mean for your board? What changes are anticipated in the next two, five, or 10 years?
  2. What is the most important thing your district is trying to improve? What is the organization’s highest priority? How are we defining success, and what can the board do to help achieve it?
  3. How does your board go about setting goals and objectives for the district?
  4. Does your district provide for and encourage the orientation and development of board members? What opportunities exist for board members to grow their skills and knowledge?
  5. What is the board’s role in setting student achievement expectations? How does the board monitor progress toward these expectations?
  6. When was the last time your board reviewed its policies? What is the schedule for policy reviews?
  7. What are the ground rules in your district for determining what is ‘board business’ and what is ‘staff work’?
  8. What is the structure of your organization’s administrative leadership? How does your board interact with members of the leadership team?
  9. What process does your board use to evaluate the superintendent?
  10. How are programs and services evaluated?
  11. How is the agenda for each board meeting set?
  12. How does your board ensure compliance with North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law when it addresses matters in closed sessions? What types of information can legally be discussed in closed sessions?
  13. What is your district’s process for budget preparation? What financial indicators are routinely reported to the board to ensure the organization is on the right track?
  14. In what ways does your board communicate with the public? Employees? The media?
  15. How does your board respond to complaints from citizens? What should you do when a citizen complains to you about a school-related matter? Does your board have a policy? What guidance does it give?
  16. How does your board respond to personnel issues?
  17. Does your board engage in regular self-evaluation?
Ramona PowersOrienting to School Board Work