What IS Systemic Change?

Welcome to Jim Needham's

"A Former Board member's view from the OTHER side of the table."
Molalla River "BoardWatch" Website

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Since the Board of Education will no longer be providing video-taping for cablecast (effective July, 2002), suspended delivery of the "Molalla River Reporter" and stopped communication with the "Educational Ambassadors" (September, 2002) I have tried to provide information regarding education concerns for interested persons:




The Board of Directors is the educational policy making body for the Molalla River School District. To effectively meet the Districtís challenges the School Board and Superintendent must function together as a leadership team.  To ensure unity among team members, effective group agreements must be in place.  The following are the group agreements for the Board and Superintendent.

The Board Job Description:

  1. Work with members of the Board and the Superintendent as a team.

  2. Focus on policy making, planning and evaluation, rather than the management of the day-to-day operations of the school district.

  3. Establish district goals and monitor the progress toward their accomplishment.

  4. Hire, evaluate, support, and dismiss the Superintendent.

  5. Make decisions as a whole Board only at properly called meetings.  Board members recognize that individual members have no authority to take individual action in policy or district and school administrative matters.

  6. Recognize and respect the Superintendentís responsibility to manage the school district and to direct employees in district and school matters.

  7. Give careful consideration to all issues brought you by individuals and special interests.  Actively solicit input and listen to all perspectives.  We will operate as representatives and make decisions in the best interest of the whole district.

  8. Value the role we play in the community and represent the District, when possible, by attending school and community functions. 

Annual Planning and Evaluation:

  1. Establish annual goals and expectations. Prioritize our agenda items and work session topics. Plan for monitoring key goals and evaluation of key board decisions. Periodically review our meeting topics.

  2. Establish annual expectations and goals for the Superintendent.

  3. Objectively evaluate the Superintendentís performance on established expectations and provide appropriate feedback.

  4. Set priorities as a Board for Board professional development annually.

  5. Participate in annual formal self-assessment of the Boardís performance.

Meeting Operational Agreements:

  1. Come to meetings prepared.

  2. Acknowledge that two Board members must agree before an item is placed on a meeting agenda.

  3. Uphold the legal requirement for confidentiality on all matters arising from the Board meeting Executive Session.

  4. Public comment for non-agenda items will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. Public comment related to specific agenda items will be heard at the beginning of the agenda item. All public comment will be limited to three minutes. At no time will the board engage in discussion with persons making public comment. Those making public comment will be thanked.

  5. Start our meetings and target an end time and strive to end our meetings on time. The Chair will set estimated time frames for agenda items.

  6. Attend regularly scheduled Board meetings unless a situation occurs that makes attendance impossible.

  7. Cooperate in scheduling special meetings and/or work sessions for planning and training purposes.

Communication Agreements:

  1. Route questions or concerns voiced by a staff member, student, parent, or community member to a board member to the appropriate staff person Ask them to let you know if the issue is not resolved.  If the issue is not resolved, communicate directly with the superintendent. 

  2. Communicate directly with the Superintendent or Board Chair prior to meetings of the Board to address questions and/or concerns about agenda items.

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

  4. Communicate one-on-one, when an individual concern arises with the Superintendent or other Board member, as appropriate.

  5. No individual Board member, regardless, of their position has the authority to speak for the Board unless so authorized by the board or articulating a board adopted position. 

  6. Allow board decisions to be implemented.  Plan for the monitoring and evaluation of major board decisions.

  7. Respect the ideas and opinions of other board members.  Focus on issues, not personalities.

  8.  Individual board members may request information from the superintendent, unless the gathering of the information will take more than one hour of staff time.  If the request will take more than one hour of staff time, the board member will refer the request to the full board. Information shared with one board member will be shared with all members.

Role of  the Chair:

  1. Recognize the role of the Chair to speak for and about the Board and to describe the Boardís process and positions. 

  2. Recognize the role of the President to develop the agenda with the Superintendent. convene meetings, and manage time in meetings.

  3. Execute documents, as appropriate.

Orientation of New Board Members

  1. Assure timely orientation of new Board members.

Expectations of the Superintendent

  1. Work toward becoming a team with Board members.

  2. Respect and acknowledge the Boardís 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. Work collaboratively with the Board on strategic planning and to develop annual goals.

  5. Provide data to the Board so that data driven decisions can be made.

  6. Possess a working knowledge of all legal and local policies.

  7. Inform the Board of all critical information including relevant trends, anticipated adverse media coverage, or critical external or internal changes.

  8. Distribute information to all Board members.

  9. Communicate with Board members promptly and effectively.

  10. Distribute the Board agenda by Friday prior to the regularly scheduled Board Meeting on Thursday of the following week. Provide relevant reports prior to the meetings when available.

  11. Respect the confidentiality requirement of Board Meeting Executive Sessions.

  12. Treat all Board members professionally.

  13. Communicate to individual Board members if a problem or issue is observed developing with an individual Board member.

  14. Conduct a self-assessment prior to the Boardís evaluation of the Superintendentís job performance.

  15. Represent the school district by being visible in the community.

  16. Provide follow-up information to Board members on concerns and issues they have referred to the Superintendent-close the loop.