As an alternative, many Boards start the year with a "pre-test". This gets them thinking about themselves and their role right from the start, and can have a major impact on how they operate for the remainder of the year.
Here are some ideas for a quick, ten question survey that will give you a starting point for your own reality check! Create your own scale (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor) and see how you rate.
How do you rate your Board?
1. Diversity: The Board as a whole contains the necessary diversity of talents, skills, experience, interests, and demographics among its members to compliment one another and to strengthen the whole Board.
2. Structure: The Board is structured in such a way that individuals and/or committees assume a proper, active and effective role in the operation and activities of the Board.
3. Member Involvement: Members demonstrate a high degree of interest and engagement in the school and in their role and responsibilities as trustees; they are genuinely involved in the institution's challenges and prospects.
4. Knowledgeable: The members of the board are well informed about the institution and its place in the educational system and in the current social, economic and political trends affecting education.
5. Rapport: The members of the board have mutual respect for one another regardless of differences of opinion and maintain an effective working relationship with one another.
6. Sense of priorities: Board members, and the board as an entity, tend to be concerned with important, strategic, long-term issues rather than with operational concerns.
7. Sensitivities: The Board is representative of, or sensitive to, different constituencies and points of view in the larger school community.
8. Strength: The Board is strong and united enough to achieve effective educational policy decisions in the face of external political or community pressures.
9. Financial Support: The Board contains a reasonable number of members who provide or help to secure external financial support.
10. Accomplishment: The Board sets clear goals and has a genuine sense of progress and achievement in their attainment. Members of the Board derive personal satisfaction from their service to the school.
Let's face it, the real value in all of this is not to give yourself a passing grade (most of us lie "up" anyway!) but rather to put these key attributes of a high functioning board front and centre and in everyone's face before the real business of the school year begins.
Get your Board to live up to these expectations and the school can only benefit as a result!