All Aboard: A School Board Gets on Track (Paperback)
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Following the election of three new members, the Progress County Board of Education is challenged by one of the new members to become a board that really makes a difference. The board determines that improvement seldom comes accidentally and that experience is not the best teacher. The board learns that reflection on its experiences is a powerful tool in becoming a better board and better board members. In a retreat setting the board explores what it wants to become and commits to improving both its image and its effectiveness.
All Aboard Is the story of the Progress County Board of Education getting on track and becoming an effective school board in spite of deep philosophical differences among its members. It's about a school board, but the principles apply to other boards as well. This is a story that every person who serves on any board and wants to be an effective member of an effective board should read.
After many years of working with hundreds of board members in board development activities, the authors have learned that board members best learn how they might be most effective, not by being told what to do or how to do it but rather, through exploration of and reflection on possibilities.
Unlike any other book on "boardmanship," All Aboard does not provide "how to" advice on becoming an effective board member nor does it give the reader right or wrong answers to questions faced by local school boards. Instead, it presents school board discussions in which members express strong disagreement about how issues should be resolved. Issues such as religion and prayer in schools, student discipline and termination of employment bring out community members who also express strong feelings about their resolution. This story follows the process of board members coming to understand the motives and merits of other members and accepting the collective challenge to move every member toward effectiveness.
Members of the Progress County Board explore board leadership and consider whether the board sacrifices its opportunity to lead the community when it attempts to lead in more than one direction simultaneously. It also debates whether its role includes initiating change or must it wait on its CEO, the superintendent, to propose change.
The comfort level with reading a good story, as opposed to actually being a member of the board, encourages the reader to relax and frees the mind to consider "what if." We've heard it said that, "Our knowledge is shown by the answers we give, our wisdom by the questions we ask." Board members reading this story find themselves considering the question: "Is there another way to view that situation that gives us a better chance of success?"
Many of us who are concerned with changing beliefs and behavior have come to realize that we do not change our beliefs and behaviors from seeing statistics, or hearing facts, or being told by others that we should change. No, we change when something happens to us that allows us to select a new story and tell it to ourselves and others. The power and value of All Aboard is the story that it tells about people in situations much like the ones you are in. With no super-heroics-just common sense applied-these people make progress and succeed in their mission. Would you like to read a story like this? All Aboard tells that story when such a story is greatly needed.