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Draft protocols for Palo Alto school leaders

Protocols:

Board and Superintendent Operating Procedures

Purpose:

The Board of Trustees is the educational policy-making body for the District. To effectively meet the District's challenges, the Board and Superintendent must function together as a leadership team. To ensure unity among team members, effective operating procedures, or protocols, must be in place. There are general protocols and those that are specific for the Board and for the Superintendent.

General -The Board and Superintendent will: * CSBA Governance Standards

1. Keep learning and achievement for each and every student as the primary focus.*

2. Value, support, and advocate for public education.*

3. Operate openly with trust and integrity.*

4. Govern in a dignified and professional manner, treating everyone with civility, dignity, and respect*, while honoring the right to disagree with each other.

5. Keep confidential matters confidential.* Uphold the legal requirement for confidentiality on all matters arising from Board Meeting Executive Sessions; will keep all conversations taking place in Closed Session absolutely confidential.

6. Discuss public matters in publicly noticed board meetings.

7. Focus on policymaking, planning and evaluation for student success.

8. Ensure opportunities for the diverse range of views in the community to inform Board deliberations,* and evaluate the district's performance.

Board Members will:

1. Work with all members of the Board and the Superintendent to become a team devoted to students; be dedicated to making all members of the team successful.

2. Act with dignity, and understand the implication of demeanor and behavior.*

3. Recognize and respect difference of perspective and style on the Board and among staff, students, parents, and the community.*

4. Govern within Board-adopted policies and administrative regulations.*

5. Communicate a common vision and annual, measurable goals.*

6. Understand authority rests with the Board as a whole and not with individuals.* Recognize decisions are made only at properly scheduled meetings.

7. As an individual Board member, not make or appear to make a decision that appropriately should be made by the entire Board.

8. Support decisions of the majority after honoring the right of individual members to express opposing viewpoints and vote their convictions.

9. Attend regularly scheduled Board meetings unless a situation occurs that makes attendance impossible; cooperate in scheduling special meetings and/or work sessions for planning and training purposes.

10. Understand the distinctions between Board and staff roles, and refrain from performing management functions that are the responsibility of the Superintendent and staff.*

11. Acknowledge individual requests for reports and projects will be directed only to the superintendent.

12. Understand the Superintendent's role to make personnel recommendations and changes in consultation with the Board.

13. Set and monitor measurable outcomes for annual goals.

14. Participate in establishing annual expectations and goals for the Superintendent.

15. Objectively evaluate the Superintendent's performance and provide appropriate feedback.

16. Evaluate its own effectiveness* semi-annually in conjunction with the superintendent's evaluation; review its protocols annually with the first review in January 2008.

17. Take collective responsibility for the Board's performance.*

18. Communicate directly with the Superintendent whenever a staff member, student, parent, or community member raises a question or concern.

19. Contact the Superintendent whenever contacted by the media regarding an incident, event, or agenda item.

20. Communicate directly with the Superintendent prior to Board meetings to address questions and/or concerns about agenda items; honor the "no surprises" rule with the Superintendent and fellow Board members.

21. Communicate one-on-one with the Superintendent when an individual concern arises; will not allow a matter to fester.

22. Cast a vote on all matters except when a conflict of interest arises.

23. Recognize the individual role of constituents and special interest groups, while understanding the importance of using one's best judgement to represent all members of the community.

24. As time permits, visit school sites and attend school functions, but avoid interrupting instruction or interrupting employees at work.

25. Represent the District, when possible, by attending community functions.

26. Participate in professional development and commit the time and energy necessary to be an informed and effective leader.*

The Superintendent will:

1. Work toward creating a team with the Board dedicated to students.

2. Respect and acknowledge the Board's role in setting policy and overseeing the performance of the Superintendent.

3. Work with the Board to establish a clear vision for the school District.

4. Communicate the common vision and annual goals.

5. Recognize that the Board/Superintendent governance relationship requires support by the District's management team.

6. Understand the distinction between Board and staff roles, and respect the role of the Board as the representative of the community.

7. Accept leadership responsibility and be accountable for implementing the vision, goals, and policies of the District.

8. Prepare preliminary goals annually for the Board's consideration.

9. Provide data (i.e., success indicators, benchmarks, milestones) to Board members to inform decisions and assess progress on annual goals.

10. Distribute information on student performance to the Board.

11. Make personnel recommendations and changes in consultation with the Board.

12. Communicate with Board members promptly and effectively.

13. Inform the Board prior to critical information becoming public; apprise all Board members in a timely manner of any major incident or when they may be called on to answer or explain.

14. Distribute information fully and equally to all Board members.

15. Provide information requested by one Board member to every Board member.

16. Distribute the Board agenda in a timely fashion and with enough time for Board study, and clarify information prior to scheduled meetings.

17. Never bring a matter to a public meeting that is a surprise to a Board member or cabinet member.

18. Respond to requests for additional information through a Board up-date, special report, Board agenda items, or as a Board workshop.

19. Present major decisions initially as a discussion item, then place it on the next Board agenda for action.

20. Treat all Board members professionally.

21. Communicate with individual Board members to determine if concerns exist prior to a possible problem developing, and respect the right to disagree with each other.

22. Provide a written self-assessment prior to the Board's evaluation of the Superintendent's job performance.

23. Provide timely feedback to the Board on its performance and effectiveness.

24. Keep the Board informed regarding issues and/or situations that concern parents, students, staff or community.

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