One of NZSTA’s key goals in 2015 is to provide all boards of trustees with the opportunity to build on their governance capacity through participation in high-quality professional development (PD) opportunities, president of the NZ School Trustees Association Lorraine Kerr says.
NZSTA is currently offering boards of trustees a wide range of alternative PD options, including tailored sessions to a board’s specific needs, mentoring of board chairs, nationally advertised workshops, residential courses for new chairs, online learning options, and residential courses for student trustees.
“We know that high-quality, effective governance is one of the factors that results in schools improving student outcomes, and that to consistently govern effectively requires a commitment on the part of trustees and boards to embark on a journey of continuous improvement,” Ms Kerr says.
“Our data tells us that in 2013-14, only 300 boards out of the total 2420 have not accessed NZSTA PD. This could mean they have accessed PD elsewhere, or that they haven’t had any. Whatever the reason, the fact that almost 90 per cent of boards took up our offer of professional development over those two years is a testament to the commitment that boards make to their governance role.
“The remaining 300 boards will be approached this year to find out why, make any changes we need to make to our programmes, and where necessary to assist them to put a continuous development plan into place.”
While undertaking PD is important, it is also essential to establish whether the PD undertaken has positively impacted on the quality of the governance at the school, and that the improvements gained from this continuous development are likely to enhance student learning/achievement, Ms Kerr says.
“Part of the follow-up to any PD is to establish what has changed in what the board is doing, and whether that change is making the trustees, and the board, more effective in their governance role, with the overall benefits of improving student achievement.”
Better equipping and supporting boards is consistent with NZSTA’s vision of all schools being effectively governed by a board of trustees whose primary focus is every student achieving their highest-possible educational potential, she says.