Education & Government
Diana Baker Freeman Image
Diana Baker Freeman
Sr. Manager, Modern Governance Advocacy & Iniatives

Transforming school board governance with the power of technology

January 3, 2024
0 min read
Transforming school board governance with the power of technology

There is no single makeup of a school board of trustees. Members are elected as volunteers, coming from a variety of backgrounds, each with ​​their own reason for serving. At the same time, each district faces its unique circumstances — increases or decreases in enrollment, changing student demographics, learning loss and achievement gaps, or budgetary constraints.

What unifies school districts and their boards is the necessity for effective governance. With strong, informed, cohesive decision-making, a district can flourish in rapidly changing times.

Here, we'll explore the role technology — specifically a robust board meeting management portal — can play in good governance and a thriving school district.

How technology improves board performance

Each board’s experience may vary, but focusing on efficiency, effectiveness and accountability should be at the top of every board’s list of priorities. Consider what technology can offer in these categories.

Speedy onboarding

Starting from day one, a trustee must be ready to evaluate and take action on issues facing the school: new or changing policies, evaluation or hiring of the superintendent, or a crisis response. No new trustee wants to be caught flat-footed. By offering a “single source of truth” for onboarding materials, trustees can be supported through that period of uncertainty. Offering a central point for all key documents helps set up board members for success.

Support ongoing training

As with onboarding, trustees benefit when ongoing training is offered consistently and is easily accessible. These offerings also establish a pattern for self-sufficiency and accountability that can benefit the entire leadership team. Materials on key areas such as AI, cybersecurity and legislation changes can be made available to board members through your board management software’s Document Library to help them upskill.

Streamline meeting management

Assembling meeting agendas and materials is an enormous task, and one that is critical to ensuring trustees share a common understanding with minimal confusion. A complicated, repetitive and error-prone agenda-building process affects the board’s performance and uses valuable administrative support time.

By automating the development of board meeting packets, including agenda building, scheduling and approvals, trustees can spend less time checking versions and clearing up confusion, and more time on decisive action to benefit the district.

Strengthen security

We hear daily of cyberthreats impacting school districts, from phishing to cyberattacks to ransomware. Incidents such as these show that security of digital resources is the responsibility of every single leader, administrator and employee, while still allowing for community members who need access to resources. Implementing secure document storage and internal communication with granular permission controls is mandatory for every school board.

Stay on top of budgeting

The budgeting process is also complex and requires detail-oriented work to stay ahead of deadlines, ensure requirements are fully met, monitor approvals and keep an audit trail. By incorporating these steps into the board’s portal, the entire leadership and administrative team responsible for budgeting can be aware of what is needed.

Data transparency

Data transparency is also part of the school board’s remit. Beyond FERPA and PPRA notification requirements, the Department of Education recommends a number of best practices for improving the transparency of schools’ and districts’ data practices. Your board management software can help keep your trustees up to date as well as publish information to your public website for full transparency to your students, parents and your school community.

Monitor performance and accountability

With the higher profile of school districts and the potential for greater visibility of school measurements to potential students, the board and its actions fall under greater scrutiny. The pressure is on trustees to work together effectively to identify the district’s mission and goals and make strategic progress.

Your board management solution can host tools for measurement and self-evaluation, including facilitating regular board evaluations. It can track roles and responsibilities as well as make managing committees clearer.

Use data effectively

Data goes beyond the board’s performance and accountability. In this era of big data, the issue isn’t whether data exists — it almost always does. Instead, it’s how copious amounts of data can be analyzed and used effectively. Boards need to be ready to use accurate information on standard school performance measurements such as student achievement, graduation rates, absenteeism, etc. as well as nontraditional measurements that affect their communities, including parenting issues, technology access, and more. ​​

By maintaining current as well as historical data in a single portal, trustees can see patterns to better inform goal-setting and decision-making.

Your board software helps deliver the right information at the right time for effective, data-driven decision-making.

Access the right support

Last, boards should never be on their own in finding support to solve issues. Look for a portal with painless onboarding and a dedicated team that offers help when you need it.

Next steps

Most boards can achieve improvement in one of these key areas, from cybersecurity to efficiency to accountability. When your board is ready to consider a digital platform for the modern community — and modern school district — determine the priorities that matter to your board to best evaluate and select the right tool.

The right board portal solution offers built-in tools for preparation, collaboration, efficiency and security, so boards can focus on governing effectively for the success of their school district.

We at Diligent are here to support you as you use technology to become an even more effective board. Learn how Diligent Community can help your school board.


Your Data Matters

At our core, transparency is key. We prioritize your privacy by providing clear information about your rights and facilitating their exercise. You're in control, with the option to manage your preferences and the extent of information shared with us and our partners.

© 2024 Diligent Corporation. All rights reserved.