Continuous Improvement for Effective Governance

Continuous Improvement for Effective Governance

In May 2022, the Board of Education and Superintendent Matt Wayne committed to becoming a highly effective governance team focused on student outcomes. 

Over the next two years, the Board will participate in joint training sessions with the superintendent and senior leadership, work sessions, group and one-on-one coaching, and regular board self-evaluations. The Board will draw from research-based best practices and a network of school board members across the country doing similar work. A team of governance coaches from the Council of the Great City Schools, of which SFUSD is a member, will provide training and support.

Updates

10/15/20 – Statement from Board President Jenny Lam and Vice President Kevine Boggess
On Saturday, October 15 the Board took part in a 6-hour workshop to update the district’s draft vision, values, goals, and guardrails. Before the workshop, Board members reviewed an independent analysis of the community listening campaign, including over 25 listening sessions, a survey, and a review of advisory council and committee recommendations.

9/13/22 - SF Board of Education Launches Community Listening Series
On Tuesday, September 13th, the Board of Education launched a series of 20 online and in-person community listening events to gather input on the vision, values, goals, and guardrails for the district.

9/8/22 - SF Board of Education Approves Updates to Rules and Operating Procedures
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, San Francisco Board of Education commissioners unanimously approved updates to the Board Rules and Operating Procedures designed to focus more of its time on student outcomes. The Board of Education aims to increase transparency in its work as part of its long-term plan to improve its governance practices.

8/24/22 - Ad Hoc Committee on Board Operating Procedures (Meeting 3 of 3)
At this meeting, the committee discussed potential amendments to board operating procedures and reviewed a Second Revised Draft Board Rules and Operating Procedures. Agenda. (No recording available)

8/5/22 - Ad Hoc Committee on Board Operating Procedures (Meeting 2 of 3)
At this meeting, the committee reviewed their initial revisions and recommended further changes to the Board’s operating procedures. Agenda. Recording.

7/19/22 - Ad Hoc Committee on Board Operating Procedures (Meeting 1 of 3)
The purpose of this committee is to revise the Board’s policies regarding how the Board runs meetings, where the Board focuses its attention, how the Board and superintendent work with each other, and how the Board engages with the community. At this meeting, the committee discussed initial revisions to the Board’s operating procedures at this meeting. Agenda. Recording.

7/18/22 - Statement from SFUSD Superintendent Wayne, SF Board of Education President Lam on Governance Workshop
The San Francisco Board of Education took part in a daylong workshop on July 17 to create a draft version of a San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) vision, values, goals, and guardrails, as well as a community engagement plan to gather feedback on them.

6/30/22 - SF Board of Education Commits to Improving Governance Practices
San Francisco Board of Education President Jenny Lam shared more details about the Board’s long-term plan to improve the governance practices of the SF Board of Education, including the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Board Procedures.

6/28/22 - SF Board of Education Temporarily Pauses its Standing Committees
San Francisco Board of Education temporarily paused its standing committees to give the Board and Superintendent time to listen to the community and refresh the district’s vision, values, and goals, and focus on improved governance practices.

About the Board’s Approach

The San Francisco Board of Education and Superintendent Matt Wayne are committed to improving their governance behaviors and practices to improve student outcomes. Their approach to improving governance is premised on two beliefs: 1) School systems exist to improve student outcomes, and 2) Student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change.

Research shows that highly effective school boards can improve student outcomes. Specifically, highly-effective boards:

  • Are laser-focused on improving the student outcomes
  • Listen to their communities and faithfully represent the community’s collective vision and values 
  • Focus on governing, which includes delegating the management of the district to the superintendent
  • Make academically and fiscally responsible decisions
  • Hold themselves, individually and collectively, to high standards of decency, transparency, and accountability
  • Participate in ongoing training and coaching to improve their practice

Additionally, there are four essential behaviors that effective governance teams demonstrate for continuous improvement:

  1. Clarify priorities
    • The Board will review student outcome data and community input on what they want for their schools.
    • The board will draft vision, values, goals, and guardrails based on what they hear and gather community feedback.
    • Finalize in October 2022.
  2. Monitor progress
    • The superintendent will determine how best to implement the priorities.
    • The school board shifts to monitoring progress to ensure that reality for students increasingly matches the goals.
  3. Align resources
    • ​​​​​​​The Board ensures that the community's priorities are the primary focus of resource allocation.
    • The Board aligns any recommendations brought before them—such as adopting a budget—to the community's priorities.
  4. Communicate results
    • ​​​​​​​The Board will regularly report progress against priorities—including student outcome goals—to the public.

It will take up to two years to fully implement all of the changes, but the community can expect to see some changes, such as more focused board meetings, in the short term. Below are the Board’s activities through November 2022. 

July 2022

  • Board drafts vision, values, goals, and guardrails and designs community listening plan
  • Board ad hoc committee begins drafting revised operating procedures

August 2022

  • Board conducts a comprehensive community listening plan
  • Board conducts self evaluation
  • Board adopts revised operating procedures

September 2022

  • Board conducts a comprehensive community listening plan
  • Board revises draft vision, values, goals, and guardrails based on community listening
  • Board adopts revised operating procedures
  • Board hosts orientation session for school board candidates and community members

October 2022

  • Board adopts vision, values, goals and guardrails
  • Board conducts workshops to calibrate with superintendent on interim goals and guardrails
  • Board adopts monitoring calendar
  • Board adopts superintendent evaluation instrument

November 2022

  • Board adopts revise board operating procedures, to include topics such as conflicts of interest and ethics expectations
  • Board invests at least 25% of the board’s monthly minutes on goal monitoring
  • Board conducts self evaluation

You can read more about the board’s approach in these brief explainer, long explainer, and frequently asked questions documents.

This page was last updated on October 19, 2022