School Board Policy..What’s All of the Huh Bub!
The sounds of students have filled our halls for some six weeks now. That seems difficult to believe. I so enjoy seeing and hearing the excitement and happiness in especially the youngest students. They are delightful and heartwarming. The commitment and passion of everyone, staff, parents and community, to provide the best education possible for our students is so appreciated. As I continue to learn about our district it is a resounding common thread that binds us.
One of my goals this year is to ensure that board policy is brought back into the cycle of being reviewed at least once every five years. This goal will also require significant time and commitment of our board. Why this for a goal?
In the world of school boards and school administration, board policy is seen as both our friend and our foe. Friend, as it provides the structure and clarity necessary for the effective management of the district; foe as it is seemingly never done and often finds it’s way to a back burner.
The Iowa Association of School Board (IASB) captures policy’s purpose and value well in stating, “One of a school board’s main roles is to develop and adopt policy which clarifies the board’s intent for district direction, guides the administration and ensures compliance to state and federal laws.” Board policy is the structure by which school boards establish expectations of equitability and access for everyone while also promoting the defined autonomy necessary for innovation within the system. It serves as the key source for board decisions, for public understanding and finally, for internal accountability.
Reviewing and revising board policy is not a closed process. The policy review/revision process involves two readings with appropriate notice to our public. This means that a policy is presented for board approval as a 1st reading at one board meeting and is again brought back for another approval at a second reading, most often at the next board meeting. Specific policies up for 1st and 2nd reading may be found on board meeting agendas.
Too, as part of this goal, the board and I have also committed to providing easier access of WBISD policy to the public through a new webpage. This page may also be found by following the link under “Publications” on the district website. The page, as does the print format, organizes policies into nine broad areas which we call series. These series include the:
200’s- Board of Directors
300’s – Administration
400’s – Employees
500’s – Students
600’s – Educational Program
700’s – Operations/Business Services
800’s – Buildings and Sites
900’s – Community Relations
I hope this helps you understand and appreciate the value of board policy and how to access it. Should you have questions or want more information about the nuts and bolts of board policy, please feel free to visit with me.