OSLF District Leadership Team Training Modules

This is a comprehensive training program designed to develop and strengthen superintendent, treasurer, and board relationships. It is a personalized program with a menu of modules created and available to meet the needs of all districts. It is a collaborative and participative based program designed to engage and strengthen understanding for key leaders as they do the important work of supporting students each day.

Annual Leadership Team Self­-Evaluation – The research is clear: the way your leadership team acts, thinks, and works together makes a significant difference for the communities and students you serve. Because your team is important, you have a moral obligation to get better. This module presents specific tools and practices for evaluating the effectiveness of your team and designing a plan for improving.

Annual Twelve­-Month Objectives – To affect meaningful change, school districts must establish a focused set of clear and measurable objectives, which are aligned with the characteristics of high­-performing organizations, responsive to the specific needs of the system and within the control of its leaders. This module presents step-­by-­step procedures for establishing annual objectives that will strengthen the capacity of the organization and the effectiveness of its leaders.

Best Practices – Wise leaders know that hope is an ineffective strategy for improving an institution. They realize they must leverage their resources and do the right things well. This module presents best practices of our nation’s most effective leadership teams and helps teams select and pursue those that have the greatest potential for improving the district’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Board Notebook – Good intentions frequently fade with time. Outstanding leadership teams are clear about how they intend to lead, and they institute practices and protocols designed to create and sustain their intended leadership culture. This module describes a strategy for memorializing and referencing key team commitments and protocols so they are not overshadowed by the daily demands of leadership.

Board President Responsibilities – The duties and expectations for board presidents vary significantly from district to district. This module delineates numerous potential responsibilities for board presidents and helps teams clarify expectations for their board president.

Commitments – Effective leadership teams cultivate a culture of trust. Team members must know that they can count of their teammates to behave in certain ways. This module helps teams clarify specific promises they should honor in order to earn the trust and confidence of their colleagues and communities.

Confidentiality – Ohio Revised Code 102.03 (B) clarifies that confidentiality of information shared in executive session is legally required when notice of a subject’s confidentiality is given and when confidentiality is necessary for the proper conduct of governmental business. This module presents circumstances when confidentiality is required and/or prudent, and it discusses specific things that should be done to minimize the chances that protected information will be improperly disclosed.

Crucial Conversations – The lives of school leaders are filled with conflict. Frequently, administrators and board members become engaged in conversations that affect their life and the well being of the organization. This module teaches participants the importance of­­ (1) Identifying one’s motives before engaging in crucial conversations, (2) Making it ‘safe” for all participants to speak openly and candidly, (3) Mastering your own emotions during crucial conversations, and (4) Understanding the perspectives of other engaged in the conversations.

Efficacy – School leaders want to make a difference with their investment of time, expertise, and energy. Unfortunately, the significance of team member contributions is not always apparent to them. This lack of clarity erodes enthusiasm and contributes to premature departure from the leadership team. This module presents specific ways we can highlight individual and team contributions to the district’s mission and underscore the importance of each member’s work.

Eight Characteristics of Effective Boards – The Center for Public Education gleaned from research eight characteristics that are common to high­-achieving school systems across the United States. This module presents these characteristics, provides a methodology for evaluating the degree to which they define your team’s work, and helps you develop strategies for improving in selected areas.

Fiduciary Responsibility – This term does not readily roll off the tongue of most school district team members. However, understanding fulfillment of one’s fiduciary responsibilities is critical to the overall success of your team. This module clarifies the meaning of the term, provides specific examples how this responsibility is frequently challenged, and clarifies commitments and protocols designed to help your team members fulfill this responsibility.

KPI and Benchmarking – Effective district leadership teams are data savvy. They embrace and monitor data and use it to drive continuous improvement in their school system. This module helps you identify key performance indicators for YOUR school system and assists you in selecting specific school systems with which you should routinely compare your performance.

Majority Rule – In our competitive world, most of us like to win. We want others to agree with us and to support our positions. Consequently, it is frequently difficult for team members to accept being in the minority of important decisions. This module deals with majority rule, and it highlights procedures designed to minimize team members rebelling and fighting the decisions of the majority of their colleagues on the board.

Micromanagement – Micromanagement compromises organizational performance. It robs employees of self-­respect, and it discourages employees from taking initiative. If left unaddressed, it can result in the exodus of a school district’s best and brightest employees. This module defines “micromanagement”, discusses why individuals are tempted to micromanage, and provides strategies to help your team members avoid it.

New Board Member Orientation – The learning curve for new board members can be incredibly steep. Even the most energetic and enthusiastic individuals may find their new responsibilities bewildering and intimidating. For these reasons, members of the leadership team should collaborate to develop a formal orientation program designed to prepare new team members to meet the challenges of their complex and deeply­ consequential work. This module provide several tools to help teams identify the components of a comprehensive new board member orientation program.

Protocols – Protocols are specific, predetermined guidelines that team members intend to use when faced with predictable challenges to their leadership, authority, and control. They anchor the team to a desired course of action that is consistent with the intended culture of the organization. This module helps team members identify a number of potentially difficult challenges and identify how they hope to respond during those difficult moments.

Roles and Responsibilities – Confusion regarding the roles, responsibilities and relationships between board members and central office administrators causes more team conflict that any other single issue. This module presents NSBA, AASA, OSBA, and BASA recommended roles and responsibilities and helps team members identify specific commitments and protocols required to honor appropriate duties.

Superintendent/Treasurer Evaluations – Several years ago, leaders from ODE, OSBA, and BASA collaborated with local practitioners and university faculty to identify the most important responsibilities of school superintendents and treasurers. They also delineated a five­-step process for evaluating the performance of these executives. This module presents an overview of the process and presents numerous forms used to complete annual formative and summative assessments.

Team Communication – The largest ship in the world can be sunk by placing one pebble at a time on its hull. Similarly, the relationship between a superintendent and school board members can be capsized by the accumulation of unresolved issues and repeated miscommunication. This module provides an opportunity for superintendents, treasurers, and board members to discuss their levels of satisfaction with team communication, and it helps them identify commitments and protocols to strengthen team communication.