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EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve curated this informative post from our knowledgeable friends at BoardOnTrack and was originally published here. BoardOnTrack is the platform, partner, and community empowering charter boards and executive leaders to reach a higher bar, together.
They equip trustees with a powerful combination of data and proven practices to govern for growth, without drowning in the details that form the underpinnings of good governance. You can learn more about how their platform can help you to build a better board, a board that enables sustainable growth for exceptional results, here.
We hope you find this—and any other article we curate—both interesting and valuable.
Academics are at the very heart of your organization, and your board is focused on ensuring nothing short of excellence.
The Academic Excellence Committee is absolutely essential to providing the necessary level of support and oversight required to successfully govern a multimillion-dollar public organization.
The committee’s primary responsibilities are to:
As with any committee, your Academic Excellence Committee’s work should be organized around goals and tasks.
One of your committee’s primary goals might be:
Develop a process to educate and train the full Board on proper academic oversight by March 1st. Submit growth plan to authorizer by March 1st deadline.
And, to ensure you meet that goal, you might assign specific committee members the following tasks:
The main purpose of the academic excellence committee is to measure the academic results of the organization against the goals established in the organization’s charter, accountability plan, and annual CEO goals.
In one sense, the Academic Excellence Committee is similar to the Finance Committee. Both exist to monitor performance against stated goals. For the Finance Committee, this means measuring financial results against the budgeted goals. For the Academic Excellence Committee, this means measuring organizational outcomes against stated goals for metrics such as:
In addition, this committee may look at budgets to actuals on metrics such as attendance, student and staff retention, and family and staff satisfaction surveys.
One of the biggest pitfalls for Academic Excellence Committees is to engage over inputs—the means by which the organization pursues its mission, rather than outcomes — the objective data used to assess how well the organization is meeting its mission.
Inputs are management-level issues, which should be handled by the CEO.
Outputs are what the board should be focused on and governing towards.
The best Academic Excellence Committees help CEOs set clear goals for the year, by building on outcomes that are related to the mission. They then set up check-ins throughout the year, at which they meet with the CEO to monitor progress towards those goals.
While it can be useful for some members of the Academic Excellence Committee to have a background in education, it is by no means necessary in order to participate meaningfully.
Many effective Academic Excellence Committees don’t have educators on the committee.
We find that the key functions of the committee — helping the CEO to set ambitious goals and then monitoring data to assess progress towards those goals — are often well met by people with strong analytical skills. These people need not be educators.
The best Academic Excellence Committee members are those who are very analytical, are great at digesting data and asking good questions, and do not have to have an academic background.
Academic Excellence Committees should not be involved in management-level work like:
Your organization strives for academic excellence. Having a strategic Academic Excellence Committee in place provides the necessary support for optimal growth.
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!Learn More