RISD Vision Statement: To provide each student an education in an academically excellent and individually responsive learning community.
A few years ago the news on public education began to feature criticism that districts were suffering from poor governance by their elected school boards. So naturally, in Richardson ISD, we asked ourselves, “Are we an effective board?”
To date, only a handful of boards in the entire state have even attempted the Texas Association of School Boards Audit. We are only the third board to complete it.
The audit is a checklist of the concrete practices that distinguish a successful and effective board. Most leadership teams could make broad descriptions of what an effective board-superintendent team looks like, but this checklist offers a focused list of specific actions that require concrete demonstrations of quality practices.
It’s one thing to answer “yes” to this question: “Does our district have a vision statement?” And another to ask yourself the more challenging question: “Do our practices show that the vision statement is working for us?”
It took us nearly a year to go through the 24-step audit process. However, had we not already spent three years developing our vision statement, belief statements and goals, and then two more years developing objectives and concrete measures to support them, the audit would have taken much longer. Because we took our time and gained complete buy-in on the goals, they permeate every action in the organization, from classroom to boardroom.
§ We will expect all of our students to achieve academically excellent results.
§ We will develop individual and civic responsibility.
§ We will ensure a safe learning environment.
§ We will recruit, develop and recognize a highly qualified staff.
§ We will have a high degree of school and community satisfaction.
§ We will demonstrate fiscal responsibility, efficiency and effectiveness in all operations.
Our entire organization is focused on these six goals. Every school and business department has developed objectives to support these goals and then defined quantifiable indicators to measure progress toward achieving those objectives. As a board, we hold the superintendent, Dr. Bukhair, accountable to the sum of these measures.
On March 3, we passed a resolution that said in part: “The RISD Board of Trustees [will] annually evaluate their structure, accountability, advocacy and unity needed to provide educational programs and services to ensure equity and excellence in performance of all students.”
We strongly believe that in order to hold our superintendent, principals, teachers and students accountable for learning, we must hold ourselves accountable for our own governance performance.