Each year provides many opportunities to use the board agenda to advance the strategic work of the school system. Make sure that your summer planning time with the board sets target dates and meetings for discussion of key strategic matters.
Meet with your board chair in the summer with a chart that shows the date of each regularly scheduled board meeting. Identify the key topics for board awareness, understanding, or decision-making associated with each meeting. Set the plan for anticipated curriculum adoptions, school construction approvals, staffing reports, fiscal reports, budget priorities, and collective bargaining parameters. Keying in to certain dates will provide you and the board with the opportunity to discuss priorities and make sure your meetings are tied to those priorities.
It makes sense to leave some open time during those cycles when difficult issues might be expected to arise. Unanticipated events are certainly in your future and should be anticipated when building the annual calendar. Planned activities can shift into those spaces if unanticipated events occur when you hoped to be doing something else. Another good idea is to use this plan to schedule reports from working committees and/or schools so the good news of the district’s educational programs are regularly kept in front of the board and the community.
Meeting regularly with the board chair or a subset of the board provides an opportunity to adjust while keeping a strategic focus in sight. Try meeting with your board chair and one other rotating board member prior to every meeting to firm up the agenda and discuss revisions to the adopted meeting planning guide. Share these adjustments with the whole board after the planning meeting so there are no surprises.
Incorporating these simple steps into your planning processes will enrich the board’s strategic focus and keep you and your leadership team well-grounded in work that the board and the community expect you to accomplish each year.