When’s the Last Time Your Board Looked in the Mirror? Revisiting the Annual Board Development Tool

While school administrators are regularly evaluated on their performance—and should be—how often is your school board examining its own effectiveness? This is an area of evaluation frequently overlooked. Shouldn’t school board members also be accountable for their work?


When communities elect representatives to serve their school district, the expectation is that they conduct their work responsibly, respectfully, and efficiently. Community members also expect the school board members to conduct themselves in a collaborative and supportive manner with their only employee, the district administrator. While it doesn’t mean everyone agrees all the time, the public understands that school improvement requires a positive working relationship between the board and the superintendent of schools. Without it, district success, however it’s measured, will be on hold.


So, what kinds of measures should be examined by the board in an ongoing manner? Since 2000, the National School Board Association has worked to help school board members across the country master and refine the skills, knowledge, and abilities to be successful.


Our Annual Board Development Tool, developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB), is based on the National School Board Association’s Key Work of School Boards framework, which is designed to:

  • Help school boards identify their areas of strength.

  • Help school boards identify where further dialogue and discussion are needed.

  • Provides a roadmap to assist and support board work.

  • Focus on the primary purpose of student achievement.


Last fall, we published a four-part white paper series discussing what makes a school board effective (part I, part II, part III, part IV). That coincided with the launch of our 2020-2021 Annual Board Development Tool.


This tool is live all year!


If you haven’t implemented the Annual Board Development Tool or have questions about getting started, contact us today!


If your board has already participated, School Perceptions can provide you with an overall report, including comparison data.


This report helps your board determine how well they’ve achieved progress in areas such as:

  • Culture

  • Vision

  • Planning

  • Policy

  • Budgeting

  • Data-driven decision-making

  • Board operations

  • District operations

  • Community engagement


Once completed by board members, reports can be generated that describe overall performance, comparisons with other boards in similar districts, and with an annual application, longitudinal comparisons. In addition, your board will know how well they are addressing what’s considered most important by their national association, the action areas indexed in The Key Work of School Boards.


Improved school board accountability benefits everyone in your community—especially the students in your schools. If you would like to know more about our Annual Board Development Tool, contact us today!

The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Jerry Kember, Project Manager & Consultant. Jerry began serving public schools in New York and Wisconsin in 1970. He retired as Superintendent of Schools after 22 years in the School District of La Crosse.

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