Preparing Your School Board for its Next Accreditation

Accreditation is a common process for educational institutions. Commonly there is a self-study aspect to school accreditation processes. Many of the aspects of accreditation are predictable and relate to the programmatic operation of the school; but they almost always include governance-related issues as well. If you are on the board of such a school, how would you assert that your board is functional and providing appropriate oversight? To do so would require some reference structure against which to measure compliance, as well as a tool or process that would determine your level of compliance. Sounds easy….right? If you have been on boards very long, you know the answer is no…it is not as easy as it sounds. That is where Aligned Influence has helped many schools. Aligned Influence provides a simple three-word structure for the roles and functions of the board and the executive team and the tools/processes that facilitate each. Measurement is also provided through a formal assessment tool called Check Alignment. Imagine being able to have your school’s board, executive director, and their direct reports answer about 50 questions in an online survey and getting a 20-page report that statistically measures the effectiveness of your board (Direct, Protect, and Enable) and your executive team (Lead, Manage, and Accomplish) and the alignment between their roles.

This process recently allowed the board of a private school to determine that their recent success was situational rather than structural. In other words, the harmony between the board and the executive team was based on who was currently in the role of Board Chairperson and Head of School. While they were enjoying this time of peace and success, they learned that it would last only as long as the current situation (board and executive leadership) were in place. As soon as the situation changed, so would the harmony. They were able to develop an action plan that included structural development for the board and executive team that would ensure harmony and success regardless of the individuals in those roles. Imagine the impression such a detailed self-study outcome would make on the team and on who was assigned to their accreditation review. Not only did they have an accurate, data-based analysis of their current situation, they also had a detailed development plan to move them into an even more successful and more sustainable future.

Ask yourself if your current success, or lack thereof, is situational or structural. The answer is critical. We often want to sit back and enjoy times of success and have a tendency to quietly endure times when we are not succeeding. You now have to opportunity to use times of success to “lock it” into place with a structure that is not based solely on the people playing key roles. You now have the opportunity to address times of dysfunction proactively by specifically measuring the cause of the dysfunction against a trusted model.

The Check Alignment assessment was designed in cooperation with the data scientists at Newmeasures (www.newmeasures.com),\; one of the leading providers of employee engagement, HR, and leadership survey tools. Aligned Influence provides the structure against which to measure and Newmeasures provides data collection and analysis tools to create the final report and recommendations. If you are working through a school accreditation and are ready to make your success more structural and sustainable, contact us here.

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