How to Run a School Board Meeting Effectively

Lena Eisenstein
6 min read

How a school board conducts its meetings can speak to the board’s competence, abilities, and motivations. Leading smooth and effective board meetings can provide the community and district staff with a positive impression, while paving the way for good governance practices.

Running effective meetings is a fundamental and essential responsibility for school boards. School board members serve as representatives of the community and their goal is to make the best decisions and accomplish the best work to benefit the district and student achievement.

Effective meetings by good school boards leads to informed decision-making, community transparency and trust, and student achievement. School board members fulfilling their responsibilities includes conducting effective meetings to do their best work for the district and community. There are simple actions that can be taken by school boards that can lead to successfully conducting effective meetings.

Meeting Procedures and Practices

The board should implement policies, or already have policies in place, that deal with meeting elements, like parliamentary procedure and opportunities for public commentary. These policies provide guidance and direction to help meetings run more efficiently, empowering school boards toward good governance practices. Public participation on certain topics may even be guided by state or local regulations.

To keep track of meeting policies and procedures, school boards may leverage meeting management software that can maintain these documents and materials, while making them easily accessible for board members and administrators for continuous reference.

Laws and Regulations for School Board Meetings

State and local laws and regulations provide helpful guidance for boards on how to run a school board meeting. Sunshine laws provide standards for school boards (and other government entities) regarding access to information and transparency. Sunshine laws give a great amount of direction regarding how meetings should be conducted.

School boards should explore their state’s sunshine laws, as policies vary by state. Regardless of how each state approaches sunshine laws, the main purpose of these regulations is to make certain that there is communication and notification with the public regarding the decisions being made on behalf of the community and the work that is being accomplished by their representatives.

The school board should provide the public with notice of the time and place for regular school board meetings. For any special meetings, the board should give sufficient notice of the location, date, time, and purpose of the meeting. Some states may require a length of time by which notification must have been made (e.g. 24 hours, etc.) to the public and to board members prior to the meeting date.

Leveraging the right technology, school boards can make meeting materials (agendas, previous meeting minutes, etc.) accessible to board members, administrators, and the public. Any special meeting notifications may also be made through board management software.

Meeting Agendas and Preparation

When considering how to run a school board meeting, the preparation done prior to the board meeting is vital to the success of the meeting. Board meeting agendas provide direction, organization, and guidance for the board meeting. This is one of many important documents that contributes to the efficiency and success of school board meetings.

Utilizing the right technology through a school board management software, your board can easily and quickly create an agenda based on a template that meets your board’s specific needs. School board management software supports all types of attachments and these documents can be attached to specific agenda items. School boards can upload attachments to each agenda item.

If your state requires the school board to notify the public of the meeting agenda prior to the school board meeting, board management software can allow for meeting agendas to be posted and shared on school board websites, portals, or social media for public access.

Technology Boosts Board Meeting Effectiveness

The right technology supports successful school board meetings through the simplified access to materials and information, while providing boards with the ability to practice better governance and decision making.

School boards have the opportunity to make more strategic and intentional decisions related to the district through the continuous access to board materials. School board management software should streamline the board members’ ability to share and retrieve pertinent school board information.

Modern governance goes beyond the boardroom to engage and equip board members and the community that they serve. The right technology can support modern governance by providing a simplified and streamlined platform for school board members to leverage for more effective meetings.

Simplifying access to policy manuals regarding school board governance sets the board up for success in modern governance practices. School board members and administrators can continuously be aware of the regulations and policies that impact the actions taken by the board, allowing for more informed and educated processes and decision-making.

Board management software not only supports boards as they navigate how to run a school board meeting successfully, but meets the board’s needs where they currently are and works to push the board toward better governance practices and accomplishing their best work.

Utilizing a seamless and streamlined board management software, like BoardDocs, with its expansive features, school boards have an increasing number of opportunities to apply technology in ways that will boost board effectiveness and efficiency.

Meeting agendas, past meeting minutes, policy manuals, strategic plans, goal information, and orientation or training resources are all significant materials related to board functions; school board members should have the capability of gaining access to these documents from any device or location, securely. Utilizing BoardDocs, school board members can easily upload, share, and access all of these vital materials from any device, anywhere. This simplified feature helps empower and educate board members and administrators regarding meeting details, policies, and procedures.

When creating paperless meeting agendas, specific articles or documents can be linked within the agenda items. Access to meeting details, agendas, and previous minutes through BoardDocs’ ADA-compliant platform allows for more meeting engagement from community members. Creating streamlined access to pertinent materials for members of the public to stay informed demonstrates how technology can be used collaboratively to encourage involvement in public education meetings.

There are many factors boards must take into account when considering how to run a school board meeting effectively. Leading successful school board meetings is an important and critical responsibility for boards. Through school board meetings, boards are able to accomplish their best work, which supports the board as they lead their school district toward achieving their goals.

Simple actions can be implemented in meeting practices to assist school board members in running effective meetings. The right technology can provide additional support for school boards as they work to comply with state and local regulations, implement practical meeting practices, prepare for school board meetings, allow seamless access to board materials, and streamline meeting information. When leveraging the right board management software, school boards are better supported in leading successful and effective meetings.