The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) defines a school board as the board of directors of a district responsible for establishing goals, setting policy, and overseeing resources.
If the Phelps-Clifton Springs Board of Education stopped right there it would fulfill its obligation. However, your Board of Education has never found that definition to be truly representative of our students, staff, or our community.
Establishing goals is a part of what the Board of Education does during any school year. We meet with the superintendent, who outlines the annual goals of the administration team and faculty, to discuss and formulate objectives in anticipation of laying out our expectations to students and families in early September.
Years ago YOUR board established the practice of publishing our goals. For example, the board thought it was important to do a better job communicating with the community. The idea at the time was simply to have a better website.
The result established a digital footprint that cannot be ignored. We now have social, digital, and print media platforms that help bring our District to life. The Midlakes Journal and our Midlakes Schools Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels showcase student achievements and staff interactions while keeping the community informed of upcoming events, and make it easier to find important information on our District and community.
Oh, and we rebuilt the website, too. It was a goal that wasn’t necessarily tied to student achievement but has become just as important to our kids, their families, and our neighbors.
Another area that defines any school board is the management of resources, but what does that mean? It’s about making the decisions behind the annual budget. If I had to guess, the budget issue is probably the most read Journal edition of the year. Articles, pie charts, and graphs tell the story of where school funding comes from and where District resources will be allocated for the upcoming school year.
But the management of resources goes beyond the annual budget. It has us constantly looking for new ways to make our processes more informative and transparent and includes capital improvement projects. In approving the 2019 capital project, the Board of Education had a great deal of interaction with stakeholder groups, administrators, teachers, community members, and students to help best decide what our campus would look like for the foreseeable future.
This work also helps direct the future for all students. The long-range planning to make this possible was put in motion well before any of your current board members placed their name on a ballot. In honor of the work done by those before us, this board strives to set the table for future boards as well.
In some ways, this year is like any other when the Board of Education first sat together and discussed our annual goals. Those goals, of course, are tied to our strategic long-range plans as well as our best practices and policies. We even have a goal to better inform the public of what we do. I guess we can check that box.
Ask any board member what goal they are most excited about and I am certain they will respond about our goal to establish and increase student interaction with the Board of Education.
Like our communication’s goal, I’m sure it will not be defined solely by the words on a piece of paper. It will likely grow and evolve.
What will student interaction look like for the Board of Education and what will it mean for current students? We hope it leads to a greater sense of community involvement. Possibly leading a current student to become a future board member.