Friday, October 13, 2017

Book for successful school
board meetings is updated

A new edition of the book designed to help school boards have better meetings has been published by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Coming to Order — A Guide to Successful School Board Meetings targets both new and experienced board members, and should be especially useful to board presidents, secretaries, and superintendents. It answers many questions about best practices for boards performing their duties and exercising their powers within their legal meeting structure.

The second edition retains many of the ideas and structural features of the original edition. It explains how to plan and conduct meetings that meet the needs of the individual school board and takes the board meeting beyond compliance with legal requirements to meetings that serve the interests of both school and community.

This edition was updated to conform to changes in both law and practice and, in particular, to accommodate new thinking about the most effective practices of the school board.

Coming to Order includes 11 chapters and an extensive appendix. The chapters are:
  1. The Importance of Good Meetings explains why a school board that is serious about pursuing high aspirations for its schools must learn how to use its meetings to get the job done.
  2. The Agenda: A Road Map to Success explains how to construct an agenda that reflects the board’s priorities and makes good use of the available time. Various agenda formats are offered along with explanations of the consent agenda and the annual agenda calendar.
  3. Some Legal Requirements for Meetings reviews the requirements of the Open Meetings Act and the School Code as they bear on various types of meetings, committees, public notices, minutes, and board procedures.
  4. Planning the Meeting shows how to structure a meeting to achieve different purposes. This chapter explains the importance of the packet distributed to board members before the meeting, ways to arrange the meeting room, and how to accommodate public participation and needs for security.
  5. Roles and Responsibilities looks at the jobs of the board president, vice president, secretary, superintendent, individual board members, and the board attorney. The chapter presents some procedural guidelines that reflect wide practice among Illinois school boards.
  6. Conducting the Meeting walks the reader through a typical board meeting and offers alternative ways of taking action and reaching decisions.
  7. Recording the Meeting explains the work of the board secretary—the recording and safekeeping of board meeting minutes and related documents.
  8. Inviting the Public to the Meeting focuses on public participation at both regular and special meetings of the board, and provides insights into handling controversy and special interests.
  9. Working with the News Media offers tips on how to create or obtain news coverage that provides the community with accurate insights into the work being done by the school board.
  10. The New Team: Reorganizing the School Board shows how to properly seat new members, elect officers, and organize the new school board following the consolidated election held in odd-numbered years.
  11. Evaluating the School Board Meeting offers suggestions on how a school board can monitor the quality of its meeting.
Some of the special topics addressed in Coming to Order are: avoiding common time wasters, parliamentary procedure, ways of making decisions, myths and truths, electronic communications, orienting new members, filling vacancies, and how to deal with pressure groups.

There is no named author; rather, this book reflects the contributions of many current and former IASB staff members. They are acknowledged by name in the book.

Coming to Order may be ordered from the IASB Online Bookstore or by calling 217/528-9688, ext. 1108. Discounts are available to IASB member districts.