I am going to attempt to do some live blogging from the Board's Work Session to evaluate their work.
I had wonder how this might go and I already see some unfamiliar faces sitting in the Board waiting area (they look like consultants) and the facilitiator, Bob Ness, that the Alliance likes to use.
Quite by coincidence (I'm sure), the Alliance released some study they did on "effective" school boards. I only read the executive summary but didn't see anything particularly new or striking in the work.
The meeting starts in a few minutes so let's see how this goes.
The consultants are from a firm on Mercer Island called Mercer Island Group.
Everyone is quite jovial.
But that seems to be changing when they see the scores they gave themselves on their self-evaluation.
On a scale of 1-4, with 2.55 being average, they come in about 2.7.
Worst one? Is the Board working together effectively? 1.3. And boy, they certainly don't believe someone else on the Board is doing what is expected in terms of building trust, focusing on policy, place the interests of children above all else, etc.
None came in at "exceeds expectations" or "outstanding."
Then there are the 8 cabinet members input. Basically, they give the Board credit for effort, time, and passion as well as doing their homework. But they find the Board dysfunctional and there are divisions. They would like the Board to define "the role of the Board."
Both cabinet and Board feel there are trust issues within the Board. Suggestions: "demonstrate accountability, start fresh, identify a unified purpose and work to understand and relate to each other."
But cabinet feels there are trust issues with Board and cabinet members. Past indiscretions/problems make relationships difficult.
"Staff feels threatened by the Board."
Cabinet does not want to be surprised and wants the Board to speak with one voice.
There was overlap in both strengths and opportunities by both Board and cabinet. One opportunity for the Board: find a balance between Regional advocacy & Big Picture Focus.
The cabinet and the Board both see and believe there are problems around morale and reputation (on both sides).
Enough Board members believe that some members of the Board and their actions hurt the work of the Superintendent.
The cabinet input shows staff feels threatened by the Board either through work load or even loss of job. (I will say here that some of the comments by staff seem somewhat exaggerated for effect. I think some of them know this would be public and may have thought it might help their cause.)
Luckily, everyone in kind of on the same page about how to go forward - work together, build trust and address division and find a unified purpose.
The Board member comments were that they appreciated the process this consultant group used.