Standards for School Board Leadership

The Role of the School Board

As the entity legally charged with governing a school district, each school board is responsible to its community for governing efficiently and leading effectively to provide for equitable education, resulting in high student achievement.

The following five standards are essential to being an effective, high-performing school board team.

Access a PDF version of "Standards for School Board Leadership."



Standard 1: Conduct and Ethics

The school board, as a whole, provides leadership to the community on behalf of the school district by conducting its business in a fair, respectful, legal, and responsible manner.

An effective, high-performing school board strives to meet the following benchmarks:

A. Recognize the school board team consists of school board members and the superintendent and evaluates its performance at least annually.

B. Take full responsibility for its activity and behavior at and away from the school board table.

C. Encourage its members to express their individual opinions, respect others’ opinions, and vote according to their convictions.

D. Speak with one voice after reaching a decision.

E. Spend time on board governance work rather than staff work — focuses on the ends not the means.

F. Provide for orientation and ongoing training for all school board members.

G. Follow established policies, including the chain-of-command, by directing people with concerns to the appropriate staff.

H. Set an example of respectful and civil leadership.



Standard 2: Vision

The school board, with community input, envisions the educational future of the community and then formulates the goals, defines the outcomes, and sets the course for the school district.

An effective, high-performing school board strives to meet the following benchmarks:

A. Use clear, focused, attainable, and measurable goals and outcomes to support gains in student achievement.

B. Develop a strategic plan which includes well-crafted school district belief statements, mission statement, vision statement, goals, and objectives that enable the school board to evaluate school district performance.

C. Regularly monitor the strategic plan to evaluate progress toward goal achievement and school district success.

D. Ensure that the school district belief statements, mission statement, vision statement, goals, and objectives are reflected in school board policies, mirrored in the budget planning and implementation efforts, and is supported district-wide.

E. Communicate the strategic plan and the progress to the community.



Standard 3: Structure

The school board, to achieve its vision, establishes organizational and physical structures for student and staff success.

An effective, high-performing school board strives to meet the following benchmarks:

A. Create organizational and physical structures based on equity in which all students and staff have the resources and supports to maximize achievement.

B. Advocate and provide for learning through rigorous curriculum, effective technology, and a safe and secure environment.

C. Select and employ one person — the superintendent — as the school district’s chief executive officer to lead and manage the school district.

D. Hold the superintendent accountable for school district performance and compliance with written school board policy.

E. Delegate the authority to the superintendent to recommend and evaluate all school district staff within the standards established through written school board policies.

F. Accept ultimate responsibility for the care, management, fiscal oversight, and control of the school district while understanding that the day-to-day operations will be conducted by the staff.



Standard 4: Accountability

The school board is accountable to the community for constantly monitoring the conditions affecting the school district as a whole.

An effective, high-performing school board strives to meet the following benchmarks:

A. Recognize the duty to itself and the community to determine whether the authority delegated to the superintendent is being used as intended.

B. Evaluate the superintendent’s performance at least annually.

C. Use student achievement data and other indicators when available as the basis for assessing progress toward school district goals and compliance with school board policies and state and federal laws.

D. Recognize the distinction between “monitoring data” (data used by the school board to address accountability) and “management data” (data used by the staff for operations).



Standard 5: Advocacy and Communication

The school board advances its vision at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

An effective, high-performing school board strives to meet the following benchmarks:

A. Focus on community-wide concerns and values that best support equity and student achievement rather than being influenced by special interests.

B. Develop communication strategies to build trust between the school board and the superintendent, staff, students, and community.

C. Utilize a public relations strategy that supports the flow of information into and out of the school district.

D. Engage and build relationships with both public and private stakeholders.

E. Advocate on local, state, and national levels.