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Logo of Michigan Camp Meeting 2018: As a Witness, Matthew 24:14

Board, but Not Bored

Jeremy Hall

Description

Come join us for a school board member orientation. We will examine the key ingredients necessary to being a successful contributor to a board’s process and function. The role of a school board is invaluable. It supports and empowers the mission of the school and so each member should understand their responsibility and the part they pay in helping to carry forward the work of God in the lives our young people!

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Conference

Recorded

  • June 17, 2018
    3:30 PM

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Father in heaven we're thankful for having such a case and we're thankful for every single department that we have in our conference that ministers to our people and equips them really to minister to those that need to understand and appreciate the Gospel and as we focus on have missed education today we're grateful for it and we thank you for inspiring your people to have a system of education and especially Lord we as we look at one of the most important elements for our schools which is our board membership we pray that your spirit would be with us and that you would in light in our minds we may be sure you a number but your word says that we're 2 or 3 are gathered there you are in the midst of them and so we ask you to come and be in our midst and even though we are just a few We pray that what we will learn and talk about today will be something that can inspire others and spread out so that we can function effectively for our schools in Jesus name Amen so bored but not bored is the title of the presentation. And before we get into actually the functionality of what a board member does I think it's important for us understand our philosophical foundation philosophical foundation is a guide to organizations to help them understand where they're striving toward So as the journey forward in their mission they need to constantly be checking their actions pragmatically against their mission to make sure they're headed in the right direction and 7th they haven't missed education has some overarching principles that are taken from the book education and it focuses specifically on our unique aim our unique focus and then the product or the fruitage of our focus a name which is a specific and distinct outcome let's just unpack that real quickly what is the aim that we have well Education Page 13 says it's the harmonious development of the physical the mental and the spiritual powers have an ascetic Asian historically has been viewed as a holistic approach to educate the whole person in some instances we sort of move ourselves away sometimes from that balanced perspective but philosophically at our roots that is what we should be harmonious development of physical mental and spiritual powers Number 2 our focus is to restore in man the image of his maker that is our focus again taken from the book education and the outcome of that game and focus is then a different outcome a strength in character a fortified mind and a recreated soul and these are all quotes taken from the beginning parts of the book education. Just so you understand a little bit about the breakdown of our governance as a church we have a wonderful system of governance it's not perfect but it's a structure that has lasted in bore the test of time over 100 years obviously but if you wonder how a school fits into the overall governance of the church you can see here of course that we have bold lines and then we have dotted lines the bold lines relate to entities within our church that have authority authoritative and decision making roles and then the dotted lines are where we have more of the advisory or consultation of role and so obviously the General Conference executive committee is the highest governing body in the worldwide church and of course every 5 years it meets in between sessions the executive committee provides decision making and then it goes down to the North American division the union conference level then the local conference executive committee then heads over to the local Board of Education which is a representative board of all the dicks districts across the Michigan conference then you have your individual school board for instance the Delphin junior academy where Len is the board chair there and then underneath excuse me the local conference Office of Education underneath that rather is the local school board where for instance adult Cademy would fall or Northview or Grayling and then you have the principal that essentially is the governance and basically the governance of operating and running the school the hiring of teachers the management the oversight of the schools really is going to come from this entity here will have a few. Situations that they might work with They'll approve the hiring of a superintendent level individuals will deal with appeals and so forth this Board of Education will deal again with with more types of things like approving the hiring of teachers approving the calendar for the school any major type of systemic change or things of that nature the local Conference Board of Education is going to work with which our office deals with Imus consider the secretary of the Conference Board of Education and then our local school board and then the principal that's the governance structure of our educational system so the specific functions of a school board are as follows The school board helps ensure that the mission and policies of the school are being carried out it also sets policies but it leaves the day to day management of policies to the administration it's a very important distinction between the board and the local administration the board is not to run the school it is to make sure the school is running well and I like the phrase e ology there its role is not to run the school it is to make sure the school is running well so they set overarching policies but it is up to the local administration to carry those policies forward school schools function best when boards and administration do not cross over defined lines the board acts to ensure the implementation of policies and plans of the conference Office of Education develops clear practical objects to objectives in harmony with the S.D.A. educational policy development of policies unique to local school needs. To support the principal in the home and school program into it ensure a Fishel minutes are taken and recorded for each meeting I can't tell you how important this element is because there are times when we have to go back and we have to look at minutes and so major decisions that the board makes should be recorded in official minutes and those minutes are sent to the conference office by each school and then we have superintendents actually review them look at them sign off their times and I've sent e-mails for instance if a school awards a specific amount of where the student funds to a family sometimes schools will mistakenly put the name of the family in the minutes and that's something that we ask them not to do to protect confidentiality or even a disciplinary issue something to let you know Johnny Smith was disciplined suspended for all that we ask is that they say a student was so that we protect the confidentiality so sometimes there are things in the minutes that we will look at we review the budget sheets and so forth. Continuing on with with the functions consider all operations of the school participate in school evaluations this is incredibly important especially in our smaller schools if you have a bigger school at Great Lakes Imust Academy obviously they have I don't know over 20 full time faculty members and so when it comes time for school a valuation at the academy level you have a 3 day visit or 2 and a half to visit and so your principal is going to coordinate all the different subcommittees that are going to look at all of the standards and all of the different aspects of the evaluation and then those factory members going to work on putting together the material for that will you go to a one room school or you go to even a 2 or 3 teacher school your board should play an important part in helping put the document together so that it's not totally completely on the teacher Furthermore if the board is participating in the school evaluation from a preparatory standpoint they're going to have a broader perspective an input that will help make the instrument more valid because there's more input on it obviously the support of the Constitution the bylaws of the school and support conference white educational events help planning of the annual school budget and capital improvement budgets so there's a Finance Committee that's a subcommittee of the board they report to the board in the board oversees the budget of the school and make sure that it is being fiscally responsible. Some other things that board members do if your church knows that you are a member of the board then they're expecting you to be someone who's a proponent of a board and board chairs should expect their board membership to be marketers because I think we put a lot of finances and money into putting together brochures and putting together all kinds of different things and that's really really great Adelphi Jr can mean a wonderful radio ad but I think you would agree with me some of the most powerful advertising that we give or don't give is in our own personage how we how we you know talk about the school our body language about the school those things Board members should really make sure that they own that piece because if church members who could potentially put their kids in the school see a church member who is not talking positively about the school and just putting out dirty laundry about the school all the time people are saying when they're in the board I'm not going to Mike in the school so they want to create excitement about the school the board also acts to ratify recommendations of major discipline issues regarding students and has the ultimate authority regarding the dismissal of a student so. The principal cannot technically dismiss a student. What happens in a lot of disciplinary situations especially at the academy level is if a student has done something that is agreed just enough that they need to not be in attendance at the school anymore the disciplinary committee will vote to ask them to withdraw from school and so the parent has the option to withdraw that student from school it's shown as a withdrawal on their transcript and it's not shown as a dismissal if the family refuses to do so which I've never seen in all my career then it would have to go to the Board of Education in order for that student to be officially dismissed school at the local school level the board would have to vote to dismiss a student your local board would be the one that would vote to dismiss a student that's important and when possible give the family the opportunity with drugs to you know it just it just has a better feel to it some to yeah better for the record it's listed as a withdrawal if the school's contacted for a recommendation obviously they're not going to lie. But versus going to the next level they did recognize that things were going well and they chose to withdraw their student and then they respond to a union curriculum initiatives for instance we don't have any control over the curriculum that we provide for our schools the North American division sets forth the curriculum for our schools and the union helps disseminate that out to the conferences within their field and we kind of answer to the union related to curriculum initiatives for instance we just launched a new elementary Bible curriculum called the encounter series the union provided training for that broader teachers in we provide support to our field but we are we're supposed to support the curriculum initiatives that we are that are that we are given. We do have we are we do have representation from across the union that sit on the curriculum committee for the union however for the North American division when they select textbooks there is I believe a textbook committee that's at the division level made up of teachers from across the division that actually select textbooks that then go on the North American division approved textbook list and are now not not at that level yet and not about not all of our curriculum is perfect there's a curriculum that. You know has some things in it for instance some of the literature high school literature you get into some of the other things and we have to now is teachers and educators we have to navigate around that we have to block out our cross off things or or make sure that our students understand you know when they get to something that this is an alternate perspective we don't believe this and so we need to make sure that we have the correct information for them it would be wonderful if our church could afford to write all of our curriculum to complete total but it's millions and millions of dollars they're making progress though they just did a brand new grade A one through 8 science curriculum which which is done by a publisher but with administers teacher editing so it's got spiritual application it's got you know so it's right in line so teachers can pretty much go right through that entire textbook and not fear or have questions about oh great what am I going to you know so that's that's really exciting also there's a new physical education curriculum coming out there there's a new social studies curriculum that was just launched but that social studies curriculum is not edited the same way that the science curriculum is from what I understand so there are some things there that need to be looked at. And then also lastly recommend hiring of staff to the Conference Board of Education this is a really important piece that it's a unique relationship between the conference of the local school the local school pay 60 percent of the teacher to teacher salary conference pays 40 percent and so we oversee the schools but because the local entity is really the driving force behind that we vet candidates we interview them ahead of time we do reference checking. You know as rounded lead as we can and then we will release candidates to the local school and ideally we have 23 maybe 4 candidates purpose. You know sometimes that's just have always the case we just don't have that many people yeah and so then we release the candidates on to the local school and we will guide the process and provide input as to what we think is best fit but ultimately the local board will decide we think this candidate would be the best fit for us so it's kind of a neat symbiotic relationship that we have related to the higher in them once that name is selected by the local board that name has to be officially approved by the comp court of education so we put a list forward to the board in the spring time that has all the new hires all the new people in the board officially ratifies those local education department decisions with the board new board members should become familiar with school policies budgets the curriculum of the school the procedures of the school the school calendar what the grievance model is other school specific policies and procedures. So the job description of a board member is they need to be willing to serve they need to be a faithful Estie a church member a faithful steward of time talent and money they need to be willing to seek the Lord's guidance I'm telling you and you know when you both know being and boards. When when people bring their personal agenda into a board meeting it really can disrupt the functionality of a unified group decision. And there are people who can be very powerful and persuasive in their For bitch and really sway a decision and make recommendations and motions and people are just voting and they really haven't had an opportunity to chew on it and process it because people have brought in their own agenda and so we have to seek the Lord's guidance we have to put our own agendas at the door we have to be professional and ethical in handling board information of discussions one of the most damaging things to a board process is the parking lot that's one of the most damaging things to hallways and parking lots are probably the most. Detrimental thing to church board processes and school board processes so we have to put the schools interest above our own and I'll go a step further and say when I'm processing something with a board that's a really really difficult decision sometimes your brain your neurons just just split in half and it's so difficult to figure things out what I try to go to at the core is what is going to be best for the students your individuality essentially evaporates when you walk out of that board meeting if your vote was the one that was outvoted if you will as far as you're concerned you're unified you know and going out after that saying I don't know why they chose that way I voted this way I mean it just creates some major challenges so they need to embrace the mission of evidence education and support the constitution and bylaws of the school so as a board chairs we have to make sure that our members understand some of those things and where to go to to learn about them. So here are 10 tips for individual board members and these are taken from the former director of education Gary suds you'll see his name on some of the quotes. One of probably my most significant educational mentor in my career and he's retired now still I think it's hard for me to get hold of him now in retirement than it was when he was director of education for the Lake Union because he's doing like 4 bible studies a week he's assistant pastor at chickening church he's moaning people's lawns doing prison ministry I mean that guy is just he's on the go working for the Lord Plus he puts together devotional every week people send out to some of us who are in education but here are some of the tips that can be helpful understand your calling or membership is a high calling because the work of evidence education is sacred There are decisions that a board makes at the local level that can change the trajectory of a school to the positive or the negative and it's vitally important so when people get asked by the nominating committee what you want to serve on the board people are understand what they're calling it oh yeah I can see you know because it's a major thing those who have any connection with the work of God are not to walk in the vanity of their own wisdom but in the wisdom of God or they will be in danger of placing sacred and common things on the same level and thus separate themselves from God Wow And we understand of course what happened in the children of Israel day when who were those 2 priests that offered fall. Nay have been no need to have been a by you yeah and we understand God separated. When the sacred in the secular were put together God separated and that was a pretty dire consequence the primary focus of the board is to support the principal and teachers in their work of guiding each student to an ever deepening relationship with Jesus there's a there's a symbiotic relationship between a board and a principal if a principal is a strong leader sometimes they can be so strong that the board becomes small and weak and there's not enough accountability for the principal in them doing their job if the principal isn't strong enough then sometimes there's a vacuum that can happen in the board will loom too large in the control of a school and so both of those extremes are unhealthy for the functionality of a school really it needs to be there needs to be good solid leadership from the principal welcoming and submitting themselves to the accountability of the board and the board not micromanaging the work of the principal on a day to day basis but supporting the work of the principal making sure the overarching mission of the school is ever in focus as it moves forward in the work of the school does that all make sense and the board chair and the principal and the and the principal and the pastor have a really really important relationship super important it's a triangle that can be very very effective when one of the missions that I have when I work with boards is there are times before I go to an academy board meeting route talk to the principal ahead of time and say Is there anything important That's coming up in the board meeting that we need to talk about ahead of time because what I don't want to have happen is I don't want the board to see me or the principal look surprised at each others comment or have to disagree with the principal because of something as a violation of policy. That looks unproductive and looks disunified And unfortunately as human beings people will take advantage of that sometimes they'll try to pit one against the other Likewise the principal the pastor the board chair the principal need to all be in unity about difficult and complicated issues have preemie ting ahead of time if there's a complicated issue so that you can go in with a united front. Not to say that you can't ever have an alternate perspective but an alternate perspective is a lot different than a straight out disagreement that can create division and show disunity I just went through a pretty complicated and challenging process for one of our schools and I was just really really blessed to see the way that the pastor and the principal and the board chair works together with our office in having a pre meeting talking about the agenda talking about the flow talking about the professors this was this was going to go to a constituency me. Talking about the flow of how things would go and it and it went the Lord really really bless it was wonderful well as to anyone. Prioritize your time to ensure your presence I'm also thinking about the people that might get the record so I'm going on for that to prioritize your time to ensure your presence by agreeing to become a board member of a local school board you are agreeing to support the school program with your time talent and treasure you have chosen to participate in the evangelistic ministry of administers education there might be instances where you have some sort of by law or some sort of agreement that board members sign onto that when they become a board member they will not miss a certain amount of board meetings lest they lose their seat on the board. Take time to become involved in the school outside board meetings find ways to use the gifts God has given you to support and strengthen the administration the faculty frankly good decisions can be made when people actually touch and feel and interact with the very thing that they're then going to make decisions for it's really important and prayer teachers appreciate prayer they appreciate support and if you have a physical presence in the school then you can do 2 things Number one if you're there enough you can come to the defense of a teacher who's been criticized for something that a parent is falsely accusing them of but if you're there enough you can also see some competency issue that needs to be addressed in the conference can come and help and aid that teacher shouldn't be surprised or concerned or in fear when they see the board chair or a board member at the school be objective this is the biggest one probably in the toughest one when evaluating personnel programs and policy it is important and vital to set personal agendas aside when you're trying to make decisions notice this quote Not until you feel that you could sacrifice your own self dignity and even lay down your life in order to save an erring brother have you cast the beam out of your own eye so that you are prepared to help your brother then you can approach him and touch his heart. M.B. Page 129 when difficult situations are being discussed whisper a quick prayer asking God to speak through you. As you have opportunity speak to the workers speak Words that will be a strength and inspiration we are all together too and different in regard to one another too often we forget that our fellow laborers are in need of strength and cheer in times of special perplexity and burden take care to assure them of your interest and sympathy while you try to help them by your prayers let them know that you do this send God's message to his workers be strong and of good courage testimonies volume 7 page 185 number 5 be willing to give serious study to school program fiscal academic administrative and spiritual That's pretty much self-explanatory we need to understand all the parts of the school that we're going to be making decisions of or else we're not being good stewards of those decisions it's kind of like the the servant who took the talent and buried it in the ground and then when the master came back he pulled it out against a future talent and the Master said yeah you know what the rest of that scenario was we have to be good stewards of what we are going to be handling touching feeling and then making decisions about if we're not then we are falling short of being able to make a good educated decision speak to the principal ahead of time about an issue of concern you have as to avoid divisive conflict at a board meeting. Sometimes board members at the end of a board meeting will go ahead and say you know Mr Chairman or miss Madam Chairman you know one more thing I'd like to discuss those kinds of last minute add ons can be potentially dangerous so it's and the board chair has the prerogative to recognize or not recognize that if a board member has something that they want to discuss they should talk to the principal and the board chair more specifically probably the board chair about something they'd like to discuss it on the agenda and then that can be worked through prior to that and if somebody has an issue with something that's gone out of the school especially if they're a board member based on what we've talked about related to the support the board should give the principal they should not bring things up in a board meeting that would attack the principal or be divisive against the principal they should go to that principal privately ahead of the board meeting versus potentially have a gang mentality that can erupt to a principal and cause the principal to feel like they don't have the board support now the principal needs to be held to account by the board then the chairman can contact the Board of Education who would need to be in representation there if the teacher or the principal were going to be discussed because technically on paper and legally they are employees of the commons. Number 6 understand the distinction between making policy and administrating policy school boards set policy and leave matters of day to day implementation of policy to the administration do not micro manage the principal It will dictate it will cut the principal out of the nice they'll feel like they don't have a functionality of as a leader our job is to set policy and empower the principal and also frankly to encourage the principals to set a vision for the school the principal should be the one that has a vision for the school a 3 to 5 year plan they sit down at the board chair sit down in the past or whatever they say you know here's what I feel like God has placed in my heart for a 3 to 5 year plan for our school we need more leadership in our educational system not more management management only takes care of whatever trajectory is currently going up and sometimes if that's a negative digressing trajectory we're going to be so leaders need to be peaking around the corner and setting a vision for the future number 7 respect the work an authority of the board as a whole accepting the position of a school board member makes you responsible to uphold a sacred trust confidentially ality the administrate vine produces Sauerwein and its impact can be devastating I think we all have seen the fruits of that problem on the agonist learning community there's actually a confidentiality agreement that boards can actually give out to all their board members I think you might have done that when and if abortion hamper breaches covenant jaldi from abort executive session for instance they can lose their seat on the board so they agree to it it's such an important issue frankly. I mean the issue of the storage ship of our relationship as a church community is big enough but nowadays with the legality issues that we face and the liability that we face our church as a whole pays millions and millions of dollars out every year in settlements and now people but if they feel like there's been a confidentiality issue or there's something that's that people have been talking out of turn about something that's an employment issue or a competency issue and those individuals that are speaking about the performance of a teacher or about the a performance of an employee are not in a qualified position to evaluate whether that person is competent well they can come back in and say Well that was you know so so we have to really be careful beyond our Christian duty to the just the frankly preserving the funds of the church the idea that the chemistry the openness the honesty the candid way people feel they can share their perspectives is marginalized if people feel like well if I if I say something people are going to take it broadcasted you're right you're crippled as a board Lucifer left the immediate presence of the father dissatisfied and filled with the and be against Christ concealing his real purpose he assembled the in gel a coast he introduced his subject which was himself as one grieved he related the preference God had given Jesus to the glare of himself that's Illinois Wow look at what gossip did in heaven number 8 resist pressure from groups and individuals who have their own agenda Well thankfully we don't have politicking in the church. No unfortunately we are not immune to the negative impact of politicking and you know somebody's got a they know that a big decisions coming up about dress code or about you know this that and the other whether it be the Church of the school and sometimes you'll have people that will come and come alongside the board members or board chairs and say hey you know I think this would really be good and so for the so on we've got to make sure that we are only answering to what God would have us do so we are Listen to this quote If you are doing your job as a board member correctly there is a good possibility that you will lose friends rather than make friends it's powerful same thing with leadership if you're leading in a school as a principal you're never going to make everybody happy if you're making everyone happy you're probably not leading because it's impossible to make every group that's the same for pastors same for borders I mean you you can't make every group happy because everybody has different perspectives you have to just can walk the way that the Lord is calling you to walk now if you're making everybody upset. Then you're cutting the branch you're sitting on that that's a different that's a different issue but you're probably going to have 20 to 25 percent of your constituency who may not think that this is the right direction. And that sometimes is is a sign that you're actually making forward motion number 9 Remember that your loyalty is to the schools best interest of board members job is not to represent a specific groups interest or agenda the well being of the students should always be at the heart of every board decision and last but not least show that you are an ambassador for Christ do you know that our students are so insightful and they can read I don't know what it is but have you noticed that teenagers especially seem to be really really intelligent about reading people they can read the genuine and the fake. Immediately I was in a savage class I teach youth class just absolutely love it it's an incredible blessing and these young people are so insightful and they noticed we were talking about idols and you know what are some of the idols that you guys face today and you don't expect this typical you know movies and you know I pulled out my cell phone and you know this me and idol and you know all these things and they didn't disagree with that but one student said. You know I think that sometimes an idol for for us can be trying to be popular with our social group you know and the idol of doing whatever I can to become popular Moll you know yeah that's pretty insightful and one of the students said I think sometimes we as a church make idols of people and she noted how when a new pastor came into town. 3 body want was trying to get up to the pastor and it have been all over for dinner and doing all these things and trying to you don't demonstrate to the pastor all the different things they were doing evangelist equally and working for the church and and they were noting this and they said but then you have a brand new other type of person come they were blaming the pastor either by the way but they they said that then you have another person come who's a visitor to the church and maybe they'll get invited over one Sabbath and then after that they get forgotten about because they're not important like the other people. And I just thought Wow And they're seeing this happening you know and so then we had to talk about OK how do you not let that affect your standing and your commitment to being in the church you know and we process that but ultimately as board members we can transfer that to the board membership these kids they know whether or not we have the best interest in the mission of the school and mom they see it they see it and how we interact with them at the school but more importantly they see it when we interact with them at church when we're interacting with them we're talking about having a situation when we're when they ask us questions about this whatever they see it and so in every way we have to show that we are ambassadors for Christ and this this very well known him not I but Christ be honored loved an exalted not I but Christ be seen be known be heard not I but Christ in every look in action not I but Christ in every deed and we're it's all of him and none of me that's probably the most important of the 10 tips most important thing to remember when you're preparing to serve according to Gary spend quality time learning about and communing with our father each and every day here are some of the resources that you can utilize if you would like to there's an actual board chair seminar and then there's a board membership seminar and if you go to the administers learning community dot com. There are a whole plethora of resources for church school there's professional seminars you can actually earn a professional credit if you go to the admin us learning community you have to sign up for a membership is free it's for pastors administrators teachers whatever and if you type in school boards you will see resources there that you can actually utilize I went through both seminars type there's a certificate that you get at the end and there's also some other resources company the statements and and so forth so are there any questions you guys have been a tremendous audience why don't we close a prayer Father in heaven thank you for this time we could spend together it's been enriching for me just to interact with these fine gentleman and thank you Lord for their commitment to have a sitter cation both as a pastor and board chair Lord I just pray that you bless their ministries that you would multiply their gifts and abilities and as they work specifically with having a city cation which I believe it's why they're here because they believe in it and they want to support it I pray that you would bless them their leaders and I pray that through them you would do marvelous work on behalf of all the schools that they represent in Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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