School board -superintendent relations: Impact of new board member orientation on effective school governance

Brent Allen Wilson, Purdue University

Abstract

This study examined the impact that school board-member orientation had on effective school governance. Smoley's (1999) Model for School Board Effectiveness provided the theoretical foundation for the research. School-board orientation programs consisted of five categories: no participation at any level, locally-developed programs, Indiana School Boards Association (ISBA)-developed programs, a combination of local and ISBA-developed programs, and other training. The board assessment portion of the survey was organized into six areas of board operations: making decisions, group functioning, exercising authority, community connections, board improvement, and acting strategically. This study also examined the perceptions of board effectiveness reported by school superintendents and school board presidents. ^ Research data were collected with a survey instrument designed to measure school board effectiveness as it pertained to the board-member orientation program utilized by each participant's school corporation. The sample population was every public school superintendent and school board president in the state of Indiana. A total of 586 surveys were distributed for the study. Superintendents returned a total of 169 surveys while board presidents returned a total of 114 surveys. The data were analyzed using a two-way factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure followed by Tukey's post hoc procedure. ^ School corporations that offered a combination of local and ISBA orientation methods had more effective school boards when compared to school corporations that did not offer any type of board member orientation. When offered separately, school-board member participation in local or ISBA orientation programs did not have an impact on board effectiveness. Participation of school board members in an orientation program that combined both local and ISBA training methods produced more effective school boards in all six areas of board operations. ^ Analyses conducted on the perceptions of effectiveness discovered that school board presidents believed that their boards of education were more effective when a combination of local and ISBA orientation programs was utilized to train new board members. A positive trend in the perceptions of board effectiveness between superintendents and school board presidents was discovered in the operational areas of community connections, board improvement, and acting strategically when additional training efforts were offered to new board members. ^

Degree

Ph.D.

Advisors

Major Professor: Charles E. Kline, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Administration

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