MMSD Board of Education Progress Report – November, 2008

The major focus of our meetings in November was on aligning the work of the Board to the district’s mission and research regarding effective school boards. The emerging literature regarding the role of school board governance in improving student achievement suggests that the manner in which the Board does its work can lead to positive student achievement results. Superintendent Nerad has provided us with great amount of research and experience to guide us in our discussions. An overview of some of our major changes is below. There are a lot of details behind each of the items listed below. If you have any questions, please let us know via email: comments@madison.k12.wi.us
Arlene Silveira (516-8981)
Committees: We voted to replace the existing committees with the committees listed below in order to create a greater focus on student achievement and the need for improved student achievement and related development outcomes for the district. The committees are structured along key governing lines. Each committee is composed of the board as a whole with co-chairs.
Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring: Focuses on the district’s mission and will consist of matters related to factors leading to the improvement of student learning. Governance function: district’s mission – work and related accountability for student learning. Co-chairs: Johnny Winston Jr., Maya Cole
Planning and Development: Focuses on ensuring effective planning related to the district’s strategic plan, demographic planning, facility planning and budget planning. Governance function: planning for improved results. Co-chairs: Ed Hughes, Marj Passman
Operational Support: Focuses on financial management, building maintenance and operations, land purchase and district administrative operations, retention and hiring of staff and staff equity issues. Governance function: internal functions and ensuring quality business, finance and human resource systems. Co-chairs: Lucy Mathiak, Beth Moss
Engaging/Linking Stakeholders: We are expanding engagement practices with the goals of determining stakeholder perceptions about the district and educating members of the public to build public will and support.
6 Regular board meeting/year will be held in different schools. As part of the agenda, principals and staff will present learning data and their School Improvement Plan.
Each Board member will serve as a liaison to 7 schools to assist the Board in understanding the learning-related work in our schools.
The Board will schedule 4-6 meetings/year within the community to collect input from community stakeholders regarding “big” questions related to the district’s strategic plan and/or educational programs/services.
Ensuring a Focus on Results and Accountability:
Data retreats: As part of the work of the Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring committee, 4 meetings/year will include a data presentation related to specific student achievement and student performance measures.
Program evaluation: As part of the Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring committee, a schedule of program evaluations will be identified and implemented.
Improvement benchmarks: When the district’s strategic plan is completed. District level improvement benchmarks will be identified for each student based strategy within the plan.

  • Chan Stroman

    Arlene, I would be interested to know which of these new committees will be responsible for addressing school safety, and how the board and district plan to address school safety in a coordinated and focused manner in the absence of a dedicated school safety committee at the board level.

  • Arlene Silveira

    Hi – the 3 new committees were formed along governance lines. I would not anticipate having a committee solely on safety as safety would be more “content” than governance.
    If the decision was to have broad discussion on safety issues, the topic would more than likely fall into the Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring committee as there is a close relationship between a safe environment and student learning. The governance function of this committee is “work and related accountability for student learning”. If the topic was more specific like the need for more cameras, it would more than likely go through the Operations Support committee.
    Thanks for the question. This is new for us so there will be learning, assessing and tweaking as we move forward with implementation.
    Arlene