A Pathway to Effective Board Policy Development
By Interim Executive Services - Ken McDonough and Associates
SSTA Research Report #02-09: 31 pages, #11

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Section One: Key Concepts for Board Policy Leadership
A. Introduction
B. The Role of the Board of Education
C. Strategic Planning
D. Governance Defined
E. Effective Governance
F. Underlying Values and Principles
G. Project Aim

Section Two: Models and Options for Board Policy Leadership
A. Introduction
B. Governance Models
C. Governance Models Used by Saskatchewan School Boards
D. The Trend Toward Policy Governance
E. Examples of Policy Governance School Boards
F. Conclusion

Section Three: A Framework for the Development of Policy Leadership by Saskatchewan Boards of Education
A. Introduction
B. Components of the Model

Section Four: Proposal for Saskatchewan Codificatoin System
A. Introduction
B. Proposed Codification System
Section Five: References and Links
A. References
B. Links - School Boards - Governance Policies
C. Links - School Associations and School Officials
D. Links - Other
Section Six: Key Questions to Consider
A. Introduction
B. Vision
C. Attainable Objectives
D. Skills
E. Incentive
F. Resources
G. Action Plan
H. Monitoring


This resource was commissioned by the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association to strengthen the capacity of boards of education to implement policy and govern effectively. 

Traditionally boards of education in Saskatchewan have governed with a high degree of hands-on involvement in the day-to-day management of their school divisions.  They are now beginning to leap from this managerial focus to a policy or strategic governance focus. 

This policy governance framework will assist boards in moving from traditional policy models to a board policy model where the board governs strategically. The pathway to the development of this model is through the installation of an underlying process of on-going strategic thinking and strategy development. 

The framework for the Saskatchewan model includes the following key components:

  • Governance Health Check process for boards.
  • Development of a Strategic Board skills. 
  • Board Governance Policies. 
The policy framework also provides for revised policy codification systems, which are less cumbersome and aligned to the use of electronic means of communication and storage.
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The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA
officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.

Executive Summary

The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association has developed this proposal to strengthen the capacity of boards of education to implement policy and govern effectively.  Traditionally boards of education in Saskatchewan have governed with a high degree of hands-on involvement in the day-to-day management of their school divisions.  They are now beginning to leap from this managerial focus to a policy or strategic governance focus.

This shift in focus is due in part to the fact that communities are expecting that boards of education will ensure that resources are used efficiently, that schools operate effectively, and that safe and positive environments for learning are maintained.  In the past, the work of boards was focused on overseeing and managing these inputs.  Today boards must ensure results.  They must ensure that students are learning at the desired level.  Student achievement is becoming the key work of school boards.

Also with the impending move to amalgamate school divisions and decrease the number of boards in the province, trustees see the need to re-examine their roles as board members and the functioning of boards of education.  They sense an obligation to think creatively about the future of their school systems, and a responsibility to shape the face of education in their local communities.

Added to this reality of amalgamation and the formation of new boards to govern larger jurisdictions is the trend to full service schools.  This move presents the necessity of leadership by boards in forging alliances and partnerships with other care giving agencies.

Accompanying these changed circumstances are significant demographic changes affecting school populations, as well as organizational patterns in both rural and urban Saskatchewan.

Given this backdrop of significant change the SSTA is proposing the development of a policy governance framework to assist boards in moving from traditional policy models to a board policy model where the board governs strategically.

The pathway to the development of this model is through the installation of an underlying process of on-going strategic thinking and strategy development.  It is through the strategic planning process that the required policies specific to the governance and management of a particular school division are determined.

In this model the board directs its efforts to turning its values and vision into reality.  It engages the community so the board’s work reflects the community’s values.  As an effective board it:

The SSTA framework for the development of policy leadership is designed to fit the Saskatchewan reality.  The framework for the Saskatchewan model includes a Governance Health Check process so boards can assess their current governance practices and the possible need to change.  The second component of the framework provides for the Development of a Strategic Board.  This component allows the board to develop skills in assessing current demographics and changed circumstances so that it may align itself strategically for the next three to five years in attaining established board and school division goals.  It develops its delegation strategies as a part of this component.

The third component, Board Governance Policies entails the development of governance and executive limitation policies directed at operational style and practice to effectively attain the desired goals.  In this component boards learn how to monitor progress in goal attainment and effective governance, as well as developing on-going practices in engaging their community.

Uses of information communication technology (ICT) are outlined in supporting the renewed policy framework.

This organizational framework will provide boards of education with a proactive strategic leadership response to the current challenges facing public education and the community control of schools.

The policy framework also provides for revised policy codification systems, which are less cumbersome and aligned to the use of electronic means of communication and storage.

A list of “key questions to consider” concludes the framework proposal.

Table of Contents

Section One: Key Concepts for Board Policy Leadership

A. Introduction

School boards throughout Canada are recognizing the need to adopt different strategies if they are to remain relevant.  Simply working harder at what they have been doing in the past is no longer sufficient if they are to achieve excellence.

Today there are unprecedented pressures on boards of education to accomplish more with limited or reduced funding.  There is more scrutiny of student performance.  Boards are expected to be accountable for their key work: student achievement.  Communities have heightened their expectations that all children will be prepared successfully for citizenship and work in the global economy.

Boards are beginning, as a result, to focus their efforts on outputs or ends.  As they do so, they recognize the importance of acquiring skill sets for creating and maintaining high performance schools.

Designing good governance practices for our public schools is a policy issue receiving growing attention throughout Canada.

The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association in its effort to advance the ability and authority of boards of education in the effective governance of education in Saskatchewan sets forth this proposal to support board of education policy leadership.  Circumstances for boards of education are changing rapidly within the province.  Many of these changes have a direct bearing on the operation and direction of boards:

Katherine Wagner in “Tends in Education Governance-Canada” expands on the responsibility boards of education have in facing the challenge ahead:
That the bureaucratic structure surrounding public education is responsible for ensuring children are prepared for the new world, highlights the need for public and government attention to issues of education governance and restructuring.  Ideally this restructuring will meet pressures for accompanying restraint while building in or maintaining structures that ensure that the goals of the public education system are regularly visited and the achievement of them is consistently measured.
Effective governance, which is characterized by effective structures and processes of decision-making and accountability, has become critically important to boards of education.  It is encumbant on boards to examine their function and roles in relationship to the public they serve and in relationship to the staff who are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school division.

While the above represent the critical reasons to examine policy leadership and governance by boards, other factors are also at play:

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B. The Role of a Board of Education

Boards of education are responsible for the well being of their jurisdiction.  Their role is complex and vital.  They must:
1. Express values which reflect the best of the community;
2. Choose and organize goals and objectives according to their priority;
3. Establish structures and systems, and retain a Chief Executive Officer;
4. Acquire and allocate resources;
5. Set out the vital principles and the limits of acceptable behavior
6. Encourage commitment and compliance
7. Evaluate performance; and,
8. Move the organization according to these decisions and standards.

(“The Role of the Boards of a Public School Jurisdiction”,
Public School Boards Association of Alberta)

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C. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the gateway to effective governance and policy development.  A strategic board, prior to determining its governance and management style in policy, develops a governance or leadership plan to strategically set the direction of the board and school division.  Having determined vision, mission, goals and strategic response areas, governance policies are developed based on the delegation, management and monitoring decisions established in the strategic planning process.

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D. Governance Defined

In the simplest terms governance is the authority of the board to set the direction and policies of a school division, and to ensure the attainment of both board and system goals as established in the strategic plan.

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E. Effective Governance

The true test of any governance structure is its effectiveness in exercising its authority to bring positive results to communities and to demonstrate accountability.


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F. Underlying Values and Principles

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G. Project Aim

The aim of this project is to strengthen support for board of education policy leadership.

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Section Two: Models And Options For Board Policy Leadership

A. Introduction

An examination of the literature pertaining to models of board policy leadership reveals that boards of education and other non-profit boards struggle in their quest to find an appropriate model for the governance and management of their organizations.  In simple terms, they are able to draw a distinction between the work and roles of board and staff:

  • Governance
  • What
  • Ends
  • Policy creation
  • Global issues
  • Doing right things
  • Long term
  • Management
  • How
  • Means
  • Policy implementation
  • Individual issues
  • Doing things right
  • Day to day
  • In functional terms or actual practice these distinctions are blurred and not realistic operationally for a variety of circumstances including legal and other requirements.

    The Institute on Governance in Ottawa has conducted extensive research on governance models.  It defines a governance model as:

    …a particular approach to governance that is defined by the following attributes: a set of structures, functions and practices that define who does what, and how they do it.  These attributes typically relate to the role and relationships of the board of directors and the senior staff member of an organization (CEO or Executive Director).
    It notes from its research of over twenty different organizations that there are several approaches to governance that could be seen as models.  Models vary according to:

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    B. Governance Models

    The literature is replete with various models of governance.  The Institute on governance categorizes organizations (boards) into eight models:
    1. Operational: board members do the work of the organization as well as governing it
    2. Collective: board and staff are a single team in decision making about governance and the work of the organization.
    3. Management: board manages operations with a modest staff
    4. Traditional (Policy Board): board governs and oversees operations through committees but delegates management functions to the CEO.  CEO may have a primary reporting function to the board through the chair.
    5. Policy Governance: the board governs through policies that establish organizational aims or ends, governance approach, management limitations and define the board-CEO relationship.  The CEO has broad freedom to determine the means used to achieve organizational aims.  The CEO reports to the full board.  It does not use committees, but uses task teams to assist the board.
    6. Governance for Results: the CEO is a non-voting member of the board, viewed as a full partner with the board.
    7. Advisory: board’s principle role is to support the CEO who may play a role in selection of board members.
    8. Representational: An approach used by organizations where governance is partially or wholly in the hands of publicly elected officials.  This is the case for example with school boards, federations or other organizations where there is a need to ensure direct representation of constituents; interests.  The challenge for board members is to balance the interests of their particular constituents against the best interests of the overall organization.  They may, and in the case of publicly elected officials do, carry grievance resolution/ombudsman functions.  They may, as in the case of school boards, have prescribed responsibilities for public consultation and human resources.

    Of interest is the categorization of school boards in the Representational category when in fact boards of education in Canada and the USA are operating using a wide spectrum of models.

    There are a variety of approaches to categorizing models of board governance.  A number of these are found in the Reference and Links section to this report including Trustees 2000, Nathan Garber and Associates, and Kevin Ford, National Council for Voluntary Organizations in London England.

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    C. Governance Models Used By Saskatchewan School Boards

    As noted above models of governance vary according to how responsibilities are distributed among board, management and staff and in the structures and processes used.  In practice most boards in Saskatchewan are an iteration of one or more of the models outlined above.  Many would be categorized as Policy Boards with the board chair and director partnering to lead and manage the board and school division.  Committees of board and management are replete with little distinction made between governance and management function and role.

    This current situation in Saskatchewan grew from the necessity of the first small rural boards scattered throughout the province to operate as management boards.  Other than the principal of the local school and a teacher or two, depending on the size of the school, there was no staff, senior or administrative, save for the occasional visit of the school inspector and later the provincial superintendent.  Boards operated with few, if any, policies until the enactment of The Education Act, 1978 which required the formation of policies for board operations.  At this time the SSTA worked with all boards throughout the province to develop a policy approach and policy manuals.  The approach and manuals reflect a high degree of hands-on involvement by boards in the day-to-day management of school divisions.

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    D. The Trend Toward Policy Governance

    Given the amalgamation of school divisions, the growing emphasis on student achievement, the expectation that boards define priorities as ends, the formation of strategic alliances with other agencies and changing circumstances and roles for boards of education there is a deliberate movement toward a paradigm shift in school board governance toward the policy governance model.

    In the policy governance model (http://www.carvergovernance.com/model.htm, http://www.bengender.com/comps/0114/site/html/mod_ove.html, http://www.mipolicygov.org/) the board governs through policies that establish:

    In this model the board defines through policy the ends or goals, vision and mission.  The director of education is to define and implement the means for achieving the ends.  The board also establishes limitations on management authority and defines the governing process.  The director of education reports to the whole board and only the whole board provides direction.

    The board “speaks with one voice” in its direction to the director and the public on matters within its area of responsibility.  The director has broad freedom to determine the means to achieve the organizational ends.  The director of education is responsible to develop and implement all administrative policy, procedures and regulations.

    The board monitors and holds the director accountable for compliance with board policy.

    The board is discouraged from forming standing committees, but may use task teams to assist with the work of the board.

    This model was popularized and developed by John Carver as he witnessed recurring problems with nonprofit boards:

    Some boards would micro-manage, others would serve only a rubber-stamping function.  Roles and responsibilities of board members and staff were not clear, board members would do staff work, staff would do board work until areas of responsibility and accountability were an undifferentiated mess.  Management and staff would have to interpret conflicting messages coming from the board.  Individual board members would meddle in staff work.  Many boards were indecisive and consumed by trivia.

    Carver saw that in many cases highly capable people would come together to form incapable boards.  His conclusion was that the problem with most boards was not the people but the process.  Carver’s solution was to create a model, with structures and clearly defined roles and responsibilities that would maximize a board’s potential, and make it rational and productive rather than chaotic, unpredictable and an obstacle to management.

    “Stimulus for the Model”
    The Institute on Governance noted that the policy governance model presents a drastic shift in how decisions are made.  It is not merely a reaction to bad governance, but a new vision of roles and responsibilities.

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    E. Examples of Policy Governance School Boards

    In preparing this proposal board governance policies of nine school boards in Canada and the United States were researched and studied.  As well as researching the extant policies telephone interviews and email messages were exchanged with a selected number of boards and school board associations.  Links via the internet to these school divisions are listed in Section Six: References and Links.

    An examination of their policy reveals that although each board is considered a policy governance board there is a trend to alter the strict rules that Carver insists boards abide by in using the model.  Many of these alterations or iterations have arisen in response to criticism:

    Carver insists that the model works best when adopted in its entirety and that the failure of the model can only be attributed to incomplete or improper implementation.  Critics have argued that no model offers all-encompassing answers that fit the needs of all organizations.  Instead, models serve as a tool to make sense of complicated realities.

    Modifications to the model are necessary to reflect different realities and ensure appropriateness and practicality.  It is by experimenting with models that they are improved and an evolution to new models takes place.

    Institute On Governance – Models
    The Carver model requires a separation of board work and staff work with the CEO as the official link between the two.  The benefit of this approach is that roles and responsibilities are clear, as is accountability.  However, the danger is that the board and staff feel disconnected from each other.  With the separation of roles, board members lose their understanding of programs because of a lack of program details.  Staff may be resentful or dismissive of board decisions when they perceive the board as remote and without understanding of implementation realities.  The staff may also feel disempowered to contribute to the direction of the organization.
    Carver’s model makes high demands of the people in the system.  Critics have pointed out that the model needs ideal board members to function properly, ones that truly know the organization and possess exceptional understanding of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.  Board members of this caliber might be difficult to find.  The time demands on board members are also high, requiring them to be briefed on internal matters and to connect with external stakeholders.
    Carver neatly separates ends and means.  There is extensive literature on this topic, and the conclusion of much of this literature is that this apparently simple separation cannot be maintained in practice.  (For example: is democracy an end or a means?).  Critics also point out that insights about ends and broad strategies are to be found in all parts of an organization.  To suggest that staff should be sealed off from reflection about strategy and organizational ends (because this is the board’s preserve) is impractical and potentially damaging to both the organization and morale.
    Interviews with users of the Carver model acknowledge they have had to deal with the rigid approach employed by Carver.  For the most part boards have made adjustments to suit local requirements, legislation and the culture of their boards and communities.

    One omission in board governance implementation has been to overlook what skills people in the general population including school officials and board members are not generally good at employing.  Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger note in their work with organizations that leaders are consistently not very skilled at fourteen tasks related to leadership performance and potential.  These skills are required of board members and directors of education.  The skills can be grouped into five categories:

    1. Future

    2. Day to Day 3. Personal and Interpersonal 4. Change Skills 5. Growth and Balance
    (Lombardo, M.M. et al., The Leadership Machine)
    A consideration of the need for this skill set leads one to conclude that approaches to developing a board governance system in a school division should be preceded with concentration on development of a strategic planning process by the board to enable it to establish mission, vision and goals or end statements for a set period of three to five years.  This plan along with an operational plan would provide the necessary means to develop a skill set for moving or shifting the paradigm to board policy governance.  Board members would have collectively identified challenges and opportunities within their local community having addressed such issues as:
    (Peter Drucker, Self-Assessment Tool)
    Having established goals and direction the board can move to deciding appropriate delegation, governance and monitoring policies and process.  If the foundations and direction of the school division are established in appropriate statements, the gap between governance and management is narrowed and roles and functions are more easily defined (http://www.fvsd.ab.ca/Policies/toc.htm).

    This approach is the reverse to that which Carver employs.  He attempts to establish all governance policies dealing with board governance process, executive limitation and board-staff relationships prior to developing the ends or goals statements.  It is in establishing the goal statements with the vision and mission that board members learn the culture and needs of the system and develop the skills to work in a board policy governance model including appropriate delegation to board, committees, director, etc.

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    F. Conclusion

    A model of a governance system, no matter how well designed, is not a substitute for critical thought on the governance needs of a specific organization.  Any organization thinking about implementing the Carver model must go through an examination of their own needs, starting from the basic principles that must shape their system to the practicality of implementing it.

    Institute On Governance
    The Education Improvement Commission (EIC) in Ontario proposed a process for school board governance.  Although it is called a model, it is best described as a process for a board to follow in establishing its own model of board policy governance.

    The EIC Policy Governance Model for School Board Operations

    Each district school board should:
    1. Create a vision in consultation with its staff and community.
    2. Appoint a director of education who shares the vision and has the skills to work with the board to realize the vision.
    3. Establish policies critical to achieving the vision.
    4. Establish a budget consistent with the priorities set out in the vision and policies.
    5. Develop an organizational model for senior staff and assign responsibilities, so that the vision and policies are implemented throughout the system.
    6. Establish procedures for monitoring the implementation of its policies, and tie this procedure to the performance appraisal of the director of education.
    7. Communicate its performance to the community and the ministry.
    8. Reassess its vision (returning to step 1 and following the process again).


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    Section Three:  A Framework for the Development of Policy Leadership by Saskatchewan Boards of Education

    A. Introduction

    The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association proposes to support boards of education in the development of board governance and board policy development.  In making this proposal it is mindful that the motivation and ultimate decision to examine board governance and modify or change current practice rests with individual boards.

    Being mindful that resources, financial, human and material, are limited it is proposed that the SSTA provide leadership services through presentation of a model of board governance for Saskatchewan that will be presented to boards through print and working sessions supported by ICT.

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    B. Components of the Model

    It is proposed that materials and workshop sessions be developed for board use as follows:

    1. Governance Health Check

    This involves the creation of an assessment instrument which individual boards can complete to assess the current state of governance within their division.  It will serve as a device to consider possible needs in terms of governance development.  Topics will include:

    Each topic will contain sub-sets for assessment.  For example under the topic Priorities and Strategy the board will assess the following: This instrument will be designed so boards may conduct their own self-assessment of their current governance.  It would be intended to lead board members to invite SSTA staff to make a presentation on how the board can create a policy framework for its governance.

    2. Development of a Stragegic Plan

    Strategic planning materials and workshop sessions will be developed for board use and general workshopping to assist boards in developing:

    3. Board Governance Policies

    As part of the SSTA board development program, resource materials and workshop sessions will assist boards in developing:

    4. Sample Board Policies

    Sample board policies will be available on the SSTA web site including:

    5. Sample Board Administrators' Policies

    Sample policies will be available on the SSTA web site for administrators developing their policies, procedures and regulations:

    6. Policy Updates and Legislative Changes

    The SSTA will post resources for research on policy development as well as legislative changes.

    7. Support for Board Development

    As part of the SSTA board development program, learning opportunities will be offered to orient new board members and strengthen the understandings of experienced board members.

    8. Leadership Circles

    The SSTA will host leadership circles throughout the year for board members and administrators in school divisions using the policy governance model.  Participants will find support and network with each other.

    9. Information Communication Technology

    The use of information communication technology, ICT, will enhance communication and development of a new board policy system for the province of Saskatchewan.  This proposal intends that school officials at the provincial and local levels develop ICT through a co-operative effort co-ordinated and directed by the SSTA Research Center.

    Policy services on line by school board associations can become very extensive (http://www.casb.org/svcs-policy.htm), (http://www.osba.org/policy/index.htm), and (http://www.mnmsba.org/public/main.cfm).  Prior to developing the above services boards will be consulted to confirm their needs. These services are best accessed on the national site.  The SSTA and Saskatchewan boards can use the site as well as developing it with other associations in Canada. Sites will be added as the links section is posted and developed.

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    Section Four: Proposal for a Saskatchewan Codification System

    A. Introduction

    In 1979 the SSTA adopted a policy service to boards of education with three objectives in mind:

    In reference to the first objective the SSTA developed a policy reference manual, which in large part was based on the NEPS/NSBA School Board Policy Classification System.  The codification system developed at that time was well received by boards in Saskatchewan, and assisted them in responding to the requirement of The Education Act (1978); to revise existing policy manuals or prepare new ones.

    This codification system is a manual system developed prior to the use of electronic systems as we know them today.  The NSBA continues to support the system through the provision of policy services including print materials and hard-copy manual productions.  Some boards have reproduced their manuals on web sites maintaining the NSBA classifications:
    Section A:
    Section B:
    Section C:
    Section D:
    Section E:
    Section F:
    Section G:
    Section H:
    Section I:
    Section J:
    Section K:
    Section L:
    Foundations and basic commitments
    School board governance operations
    General school administration
    Fiscal management
    Support services
    Facilities planning and development
    School-community home relations
    Education agency relations

    This codification system reflects the traditional Policy Board Manual where the board chair and director of education lead and manage the school division.  Section A and Section B detail policy on governance.  The remaining sections pertain to the administration of the school division, although there is a “good mix” of governance and administrative functions flowing through many policies and procedures outlined in Section C through Section L of extant board manuals because the manuals are based on the Policy Board Manual.

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    B. Proposed Codification System

    On adopting the Policy Governance Board Model boards are required to separate governance policies and administrative policies.  The board is responsible for developing and maintaining its policies.  The director of education is responsible to develop the required administrative policies:

    1. Board Governence Polices

    The codification systems for board governance policies are simple and lend themselves to the use of electronic systems.  John Carver and Miriam Mayhew Carver recommended the following registry as a starting set:
    EXECUTIVE LIMITATIONS Global executive constraint
    Treatment of consumers
    Treatment of staff
    Financial planning and budgeting
    Financial conditions and activities
    Emergency CEO Succession
    Asset protection
    Compensations and benefits
    Communication and support to the board
    Ends focus of grants or contracts
    GOVERNANCE PROCESS Global governance commitment
    Governing style
    Board job description
    Agenda planning
    Chairperson’s role
    Board members’ code of conduct
    Board committee principles
    Cost of governance
    BOARD-CEO LINKAGE Global board-CEO linkage
    Unity of control
    Accountability of the CEO
    Delegation to the CEO
    Monitoring CEO performance
    ENDS  Purpose
    Mission and priorities

    (J. Carver and M Carver, Reinventing Your Board, pp.190-216)
    Adam 12 Five Star Schools in Colorado, USA employ the following registry for their governance policies:

    1 General Ends Policy

    2 General Operating Limitations Policy
    2.1 Treatment of students, their families and community members
    2.2 Treatment of staff
    2.3 Financial planning and budgeting
    2.4 Financial condition and activities
    2.5 Asset production
    2.6 Compensation and benefits
    2.7 Communication and support to the board
    2.8 Emergency superintendent succession
    2.9 Real property transactions-Repealed 12/18/01

    3 General Board-Superintendent Relationship Policy
    3.1 Unity of control
    3.2 Accountability of the superintended
    3.3 Delegation of the superintendent
    3.4 Monitoring superintendent performance

    4 General Governance Process Policy
    4.1 Governing style
    4.2 Board job description
    4.3 Agenda planning
    4.4 President’s role
    4.5 Board members’ code of conduct
    4.6 Board committee principles
    4.7 Cost of governance
    4.8 Monitoring process governance policies

    The Calgary Board of Education uses the terminology of Policy Type for the four governance policy categories:

    Policy Type A: Governance Process
    Policy 1: Role of a trustee description
    Policy 2: Board role descriptions
    Policy 3: Board chair’s role
    Policy 4: Vice chair’s role
    Policy 5: Trustees’ code of conduct
    Policy 6: Relations with the media
    Policy 7: Governance commitment
    Policy 8: Governing policies
    Policy 9: Governance policy development
    Policy 10: Governing style
    Policy 11: Committee structure:
    Policy 12: Board committee principles
    Policy 13: Board of trustees annual planning cycle

    Policy Type B: Board-Chief Superintendent Relationship
    Policy 1: Chief superintendent role
    Policy 2: Chief superintendent job description
    Policy 3: Delegation to the chief superintendent
    Policy 4: Monitoring executive performance

    Policy Type C: Executive Limitations
    Policy 1: General executive constraint
    Policy 2: Treatment of people
    Policy 3: Budgeting
    Policy 3.1: Revenue generation
    Policy 4: Financial condition
    Policy 5: Emergency executive succession
    Policy 6: Asset protection
    Policy 7: Compensation and benefits
    Policy 8: Communication and counsel to the board
    Policy 9: Transitional provision

    Policy Type D: Ends
    Policy 1: Transitional provision
    Policy 2: Educational ends
    Policy 3: Educational ends regarding alternative programs
    Policy 4: Closure of schools and accommodation policy for student

    Recommended Codification System

    It is recommended that the SSTA adopt a codification system patterned on the Fort Vermilion School Division’s system:

    Foundations and Direction
    1.1 Mandate
    1.2 Vision
    1.3 Mission
    1.4 Guiding principles
    1.5 Board goals
    1.6 System goals

    Governance and Management
    2.1 Role of the board
    2.2 Approach to governance
    2.3 Code of conduct
    2.4 Role of chair
    2.5 Role of committees and representatives
    2.6 Meetings
    2.7 Delegation of authority and responsibility
    2.8 Monitoring performance

    Limitations on Operations
    3.1 General constraints
    3.2 Relationships
    3.3 Programs and services
    3.4 Finances
    3.5 Assets
    3.6 Communications with the board

    This system has many benefits over the four category registry:

    Board Goals
    Refine the policy monitoring system
    Improve stakeholder linkages
    Ensure smooth succession of the Board
    Prepare for the recruitment, selection and orientation of a new CEO.

    System Goals
    Increase student performance on provincial achievement tests and diploma exams
    Maintain high levels of parent satisfaction in all schools
    Increase the quantity of educational service delivered to students by increasing the percentage of students who choose to remain in school after they have completed grade 8 (Students Choosing Education Rate)
    Increase the percentage of parents who are satisfied that Fort Vermillion School
    Division No. 52 schools provide a safe and caring environment for children.

    2. Administrative Policies

    It is anticipated that directors of education will want assistance in developing their administrative policies, procedures and regulations.  The following codification that is recommended for provincial use is patterned on the Edmonton Catholic Schools system:

    General school administration
    Personnel and employee relations
    Programs and curriculum
    Community liaison
    Business administration


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    Section Five: References and Links

    A. References

    Alberta School Boards Association, Policy Codification and Code Finder Index, 1994.

    Blanchard, K., et al.  The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams, 1990, William Morrow and Company, Inc., N.Y.

    Canadian Center for Philanthropy. Does the Carver Policy Governance Model Really Work?, Front and Center, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.12-14.

    Chrislip, D.D., et al.  Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference, 1994, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.

    Carver, John.  Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations, 1997, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.

    Carver, John, Carver, Miriam. Reinventing Your Board: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Policy Governance, 1997, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

    Carver, John.  Remaking Governance, American School Board Journal, March 2000, p.26.

    Carver, John, Carver, Miriam. The Carver Guide Series on Effectance Governance:

    Carver, John.  Making the Commitment to Policy Governance, Board Leadership, 41, January-February, 1999.

    Drucker, Peter, F. The Drucker Foundation Self-Assessment Tool: Process Guide and Participant Workbook, 1999, Jossey-Bass.

    Edmonton Community Network, Edmonton Community Network Board Policy, Edmonton, AB

    Flemming, T. Provincial Initiatives to Restructure Canadian School Governance in the 1990’s, Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue 11, November 28, 1997.

    Ford, Kevin.  Governance and Management: Trustee Information Briefing, 2001, National Council for Voluntary Organizations, London, England.

    Ford, Kevin.  Fit to Govern: A Ten-Point Health Check, 2001, National Council for Voluntary Organizations, London, England.

    Light, Mark.  The Strategic Board: The Step-by-Step Guide to High Impact Governance, 2001, John Wiley & Sons Inc.

    Lombardo, M.M. et al.  The Leadership Machine, 2001, Lomenger Ltd.

    Nathan Garber & Associates. Governance Models: What’s Right For Your Board of Directors?  London, ON.

    Oliver, Caroline.  General Edition, The Policy Governance Fieldbook: Practical Lessons, Tips, and Tools From the Experience of Real-World Boards, 1999, Jossey-Bass.

    Ontario School Board Trustees.  Trustee Handbook, 2000.

    Public School Boards Association of Alberta.  The Role of the Board of a Public School Jurisdiction.

    Raham, H.  The Changing Role of School Boards, Society for Advancement of Excellence in Education, Kelowna, B.C.

    Renchler, Ron.  New Patterns of School Governance, Eric Digest, No.141, December, 1999.

    Rogers, Susan.  The Crisis in Board Leadership, Association Magazine, Canadian Society of Association Executives.

    Ryan, William.  Governance Futures: New Perspectives on Nonprofit Governance.  Hauser Center For Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University.

    Royer, G. School Board Leadership 2000: The Things Staff Didn’t Tell You at Orientation.  Brockton Publishing, Houston, Texas, 1996.

    Saskatchewan School Trustees Association.  Policy Reference Manual, 1979.

    Senge, P.M.  The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.   Doubleday Currency, 1990.

    Spears, L.C.  Reflections on Leadership.  John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

    Stoesz, Edgar. Common Sense For Board Members: 40 Essays About Board Service.  Good Books, Intercourse, PA, 2000.

    Svara, J.  Facilitative Leadership in Local Government, Jossey-Bass, 1994.

    Taylor, B.  How Boards Can Add Value, National Council for Voluntary Organizations, London, England.

    Wagner, K.  Trends in Public Education Governance-Canada, Education Analyst.  Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education, Kelowna, B.C.

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    B. Links - School Boards-Governance Policies

    1. Adams 12 Five Star Schools

    2. Calgary Board of Education

    3. Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District

    4. Edmonton Catholic Schools

    5. Fort Vermilion School Division

    6. Iowa City Community School District

    7. Orange County Public Schools

    8. Red Deer Catholic Schools

    9. Saskatoon Catholic Schools

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    C. Links - School Associations and School Officials

    1. Alberta School Boards Association

    2. American Association of School Administrators

    3. Colorado Association of School Boards

    4. Minnesota School Board Association

    5. National School Boards Association Policy Network

    6. Trustees 2000 – Ontario School Board Trustees

    7. Oregon School Boards Association

    8. Public School Boards Association of Alberta

    9. Saskatchewan School Trustees Association

    10. Canadian Education Policy and Administration Network

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    D. Links - Other

    1. Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation

    2. Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

    3. The Policy Governance Model – Carver

    4. Education Policy Analysis Archives

    5. Institute On Governance – Models

    6. Board Orientation For Carver Model – Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society

    7. Society For The Advancement Of Excellence In Education Policy Watch

    8. The Policy Governance Network

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    Section Six: Key Questions To Consider

    A. Introduction

    In this proposal the SSTA envisages a change or transition to a new form of board of education governance.  The change is a major paradigm shift.  Organizations do not easily change:

    Organizations are not ordinarily self-reviewing or self-reforming.  Powerful outside forces are usually necessary if reform is to take place.  The modern corporation offers a case in point.  Its incentives to change, whether it is product lines, internal organization, customer relations or management, are largely external.  (These) are…competitive forces…Left to their own devices, few managers or CEO’s-in either the private or the public sector would change, because the attraction of the familiar is so powerful.  That’s true of corporations, labor, government bureaucracies, families, fraternal associations, churches and schools.
    Kearns& Doyle
    Winning the Brain Race
    There are preconditions that are necessary for change within a system or organization.  If one of these preconditions is missing there is consequence:
    Preconditions For  Effective Change
    Consequence If A Condition Is Lacking
    Attainable objectives
    Action plan
    Monitoring evaluation
    False Starts
    Adapted from Flemming (1987)
    The majority of questions which one could consider related to the proposal of transition to a renewed policy leadership framework will be related to these preconditions.

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    B. Vision

    Do boards see the need to change from their current structure and way of operating to a new form?

    Is the vision of board policy governance shared?

    Will public perception of the role and function of a board and trustee change?

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    C. Attainable Objectives

    Is it possible for boards to develop a functional system of board governance?

    Can board members and directors of education work within the parameters of the new limitation policies?

    Can boards develop a strategic framework?

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    D. Skills

    Do boards have the skill set outlined in Section Two to affect the shift?

    Can the SSTA provide the expertise to boards?

    Can these skills be learned through the proposed approach in the new policy framework?

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    E. Incentive

    Do boards see the need to change?

    Will trustees have the support of their communities and staff to make the change?

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    F. Resources

    Can trustees give of their time to make the transition?

    Are boards able to fund the transition?

    Does the SSTA have sufficient resources to expand its policy services and ICT functions?

    Are the expenditures worth the effort?

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    G. Action Plan

    The proposed framework at this juncture has not been outlined in terms of a development or action plan, but certain questions should be asked prior to formulating an action plan:

    Should the action plan target general acceptance and adoption of the framework?

    Should the proposal be developed with selected boards prior to general adoption?

    Should the initial concentration be on developing strategic boards prior to moving to the development of policy governance?

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    H. Monitoring

    What benchmarks should the SSTA establish to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the project?

    Should boards be requested at the outset to share evaluative and assessment information on the adoption of the model in their school divisions?

    How would boards want the SSTA to assist them in monitoring the implementation of the policy framework?

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