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Back to School for Board Members

Back to School for Board Members

Our theme for this month is Back to School. As schools around the country re-opened for another academic year, and another opportunity for learning new skills and gaining additional knowledge, our thoughts turned to how important it is for associations to continue to evaluate their skill sets. What are staff members’ strengths? In what areas could your board be better equipped?

While most associations operate based on a fiscal year rather than an academic year, they can seize this back to school season as a time for making sure their approach to governance remains effective. What’s on your board’s back to school list?

Contributor Kate Essex posed this question in a post she wrote for CharterBoardPartners. Essex went on to outline some of the key items that should be on a charter school board’s back to school checklist. I have paraphrased three here that seem particularly relevant to associations:

  • New board members. Check in to make sure they are fully oriented and working productively with their assigned committees.
  • Committees. Review the goals and schedule for each committee to ensure they are on track for completing their work.
  • Volunteer leader and staff leader. Touch base to confirm that their established system and scheduled for holding regular check-in’s is effective.

Keeping your eye on these items helps ensure that your board remains productive and positive. As Essex put it, board members “play a critical role in ensuring your [organization] gets off to a strong start and continues on a positive trajectory throughout the year.” When it’s necessary, invite your board members back to school to reinforce their roles and responsibilities.

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