Team Operating Principles & Commitments
F reeman School District is focused on “Continuing our Tradition of Excellence.” R
elationships with our students, staff, parents and community members are at the heart of everything we do.
very student matters and we believe every child can and will learn and be a contributing member of our society.
E very staff member is an integral part of our mission to continuously improve teaching and learning for every student. M
aintain a team approach to decision making where every decision is directly connected to our Freeman 2020 Strategic Plan.
s a team, we commit to treat each other with trust, respect, dignity, honesty, and caring.
o surprises is our motto for clear, concise and timely communication.INTRODUCTION
Successful organizations are the result of effective and dynamic leadership. To assure a quality operation, leaders must agree on basic ways of operating together. Operating principles define the beliefs, values, and methods of working together.
The manner in which the Board and Superintendent conduct their business becomes a model throughout the district and serves for staff and our “customers” as an example of how problems are solved.
The following principles outline the philosophy of cooperative behavior that has been agreed upon by the Board and the Superintendent in Freeman School District. As members of the leadership team, we are committed to upholding these principles.LEADERSHIP TEAM ROLES
Freeman SD Board
Freeman SD Superintendent
Reviews and Suggests What
Creates, Reviews, and Adopts Policy
Approves and Reviews Plans
Contracts with Personnel
Approves Evaluation Criteria and Procedures
Approves and Reviews Budget
Represents Public Interest
Seeks and Provides Information
Recommends and Carries Out Policy
Supervises Hiring Process and Practices
Supervises and Evaluates Personnel
Formulates and Implements Budget
Acts in Public Interest
Open communication requires trust, respect, and a fundamental belief in goodwill among board members and the superintendent. We will work to minimize misunderstandings and reduce conflict by:
· Supporting each other constructively and courteously.
· Maintaining confidentiality.
· Focusing our discussions on issues, not personalities.
· Constructively dealing with disagreement.
· Upholding the integrity of every individual.
· Pursuing thorough understanding.
· Involving parties who will be affected by the decision and solution.
· Expressing our opinions and positions on issues honestly and openly while being sensitive to others’ opinions.
· Avoiding promotion of individual agendas.
The board will give direction to the superintendent in totality through adopted policies or action(s) taken at a board meeting.
If a board member acts outside his/her defined role, the board chair or other designated board member(s) will talk with the individual board member regarding the problem.
The board will provide the superintendent input and/or feedback on his performance on an ongoing basis.
The superintendent will let the board know as soon as possible of any major issue that may arise which could be problematic for the district.
The board chair will be the official spokesperson for the board. The superintendent will be the official spokesperson for district operations.JUDGEMENT AND TRUST
The complexities of operating a school district cannot be fully addressed in policies, procedures or operating principles. Working with people and handling difficult and controversial issues on a daily basis requires good judgment, common sense and a strong trust relationship between board and superintendent. Every complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved; every issue or concern will not be foreseen. For these reasons trust in each other, allowance for error, and team efforts to address problems are a key part of an effective school district operation. We will approach these situations with the belief the other person is working in good faith with good expectations and positive intentions.DECISION MAKING
The identification and evaluation of alternatives, awareness of short- and long-term consequences, appreciation for the needs of the group, as well as individuals, and sensitivity toward collective action are essential to the decision-making process.
In order to formulate and execute sound decisions, we agree to:
- Resolve problems at the lowest level possible.
- Provide for input from all concerned when possible.
- Use a decision-making style appropriate to the situation.
- Engage in respectful deliberation as decisions are made.
- Reevaluate the effectiveness of the decision when appropriate.
- Communicate decisions that are made with clarity.
Using this process, we recognize that a decision may sometimes be superseded by a higher level of authority. When this occurs, the rationale will be communicated to those involved before releasing the information.LISTENING/COMMUNICATION
Listening expresses our concern for others by showing an interest in not only the information but also the other person. Active listening benefits each party and is a key to effective communication. We should take sufficient time to summarize and paraphrase what we have heard.
A healthy climate for communication requires trust, respect and a fundamental belief in the goodwill among team members. Messages need to be open, honest, and tactful. We work to minimize misunderstandings and reduce conflict. We strive for mutual understanding and support.
As a board/superintendent leadership team, we make the following commitments:
- Keep the tone and demeanor of discussions professional by avoiding defensiveness and personalized anger.
- Demonstrate that we have recognized the other’s point of view.
- Share information with all people affected in a timely manner.
- Communicate attendance or non-attendance at scheduled district/association activities, beyond regular board meetings.
A sustained commitment to a group, person, or organization survives and is nurtured in an open environment that recognizes the need and right of the parties to construct, express, examine, and synthesize divergent thought. Understanding opposing viewpoints helps us to better represent Freeman School District’s interests.
We accept the challenge of pursuing a common intent through a review of opinion and fact, to an end that is understood and defensible by all. Once a final decision is reached, each member will support the decision.
By way of fulfilling our commitment to the challenge, we agree:
- To support each other constructively and courteously
- To maintain confidentiality.
- To allow ourselves and others the freedom to admit mistakes.
- To focus our discussions on issues, not personalities.
- To pursue thorough understanding.
- Every effort will be made to provide changes/corrections to the published Board minutes to the superintendent’s administrative assistant or the superintendent in advance of a Board meeting and, in most cases, will not be addressed at meetings. All board members with changes will call the superintendent’s office prior to the board meeting. Updated copy of the minutes will be provided to each board member and to the public as needed.
- Board agendas will be developed as a partnership between the board chair and the superintendent. The board chair and the superintendent will review the agenda in detail prior to the board meeting. Board members requesting items for the agenda will contact the superintendent or board president with the items prior to the meeting.
- Board meeting agendas are intended to include timely topical presentations from staff, providing the Board with needed information that supports recommendations related to initiatives or current programs.
- Board meeting agenda and background material on agenda items will be provided electronically to all board members by the Friday and/or Monday before the next week’s board meeting.
- Board members will review all material provided and seek clarification or additional information as needed prior to the board meeting. Board members will discuss proposals they have concerns about with the superintendent and/or board president prior to the board meeting.
- Board members requesting information from staff at board meetings will do so through the superintendent. All items addressed to the board for action or discussion by staff will be given in an objective fashion explaining both the positive and negative aspects of the decisions. If board members feel “rushed” or feel they do not have enough information, the board member will request a “table” or postponement until such time as adequate information is presented.
- Open, honest and respectful discussion of issues, ideas and positions on proposals is expected.
- Once a final decision has been made on a proposal, board members and superintendent will individually and collectively, publicly support successful implementation.
- All discussions that occur during executive sessions are privileged and shall not be shared with anyone unless it is the express decision of the board to do so.
Individually, and collectively, we commit to and support the Freeman SD Board/ Superintendent Team Operating Principles and Commitments.
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