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School board has new method for meetings

Over the past several years, the West Fargo School Board has been working to make changes to the manner in which it operates.

This is an effort on our part to ensure more systematic, thorough assessment of each area of district operations, as well as to more clearly define roles and responsibilities. Above all, we have undertaken this change in order to concentrate on the ultimate business of the school district: educating every one of our students to prepare them for life beyond high school.

This work has resulted in changes to district board policies, board meeting agendas and content, and the manner in which the superintendent is evaluated.

Each summer, members of the West Fargo School Board work with district administration to develop an annual work plan.

The work plan sets forth a schedule for assessing progress in academic achievement among our students. This work plan also allows the board to monitor each area of district operations (e.g. facilities, asset protection, transportation, etc.) instead of looking at those areas only when problems arise. Standards of what is considered ‘acceptable’ are agreed on ahead of time by the board and superintendent.

If you attend a board meeting, you may notice differences from meetings in the past. In particular, a significant portion of meeting time is spent reviewing achievement results of a particular academic area (e.g. science, math, etc.) or a designated area of district operations like the ones mentioned earlier. Each time an area is monitored, the board determines whether or not the result is in compliance with the stated standard (policy). Those determinations are compiled to form the basis for the superintendent’s annual evaluation, as required by North Dakota state law.

In order for any enterprise to succeed, it is critical that everyone clearly understands his/her unique role and level of responsibility. The school board has given the superintendent well-defined, high-level policy directives.

The superintendent, in turn, decides how to use the resources at his disposal to achieve those directives. We feel that the changes that we have made in how we operate as a school board allow for authentic accountability in the West Fargo public schools.

This is helping to build a sense of ownership by all invested individuals and will ultimately aid in the success of our students.

- Kay Kiefer, School Board president, West Fargo Public Schools