Discussion of Chapter 8 of "Effective School Boards"

Chapter 8 is titled "Getting the Best Information"


Chapter headings include:

"Regulating the Flow of information"

Using information effectively and efficiently requires careful attention to what information is provided, how that is decided, and who offers it.

"Understanding the Role of Information"

Relates to Responsibilities...boards need information on

Mission, values, goals, program, organization, planning, standards, accountability, performance monitoring

Budget, curriculum, and personnel

Contracts, collaborative projects

Crises that endanger individuals or create strong community views.

Fulfills the elements of effectiveness

Making decisions, functioning as a group, exercising authority, connecting to the community, working toward board improvement, and acting strategically.

Strengthens essential relationships

Establishing Information Priorities

Working with their superintendents, boards should deliberately plan for receiving information.  The plan should consider the kinds of information, the level of detail, and its conveyance.  This is complex but important; it is often ignored. 

Identifying Information Categories

Long-term, short-term, and crisis.

Public and confidential

Central to decision making and background and context.

Anticipated and unanticipated issues.

Input to board and outflow from board.

Community focus and district focus.

Compliance and development.

Assessing and Planning an Information System

Does it have a governance perspective?

Does it have strategic relevance?

Is it moderate in volume?

Is it appropriate in its level of detail?

Is it for the full board?

Is the board time required moderate?

Is the information grounded in objective analysis?

Is it an adequate guide for action?

Asking the Difficult Questions

Smoley states in the conclusion of this chapter: "A sound superintendent-board partnership supported by the right governance information sets the stage for  a board to build its capacity to function effectively."