Improving Board Efficiency

Charter school boards use a variety of tools to help manage their meetings. For example, I have observed some boards using Google Drive to assist with the myriad of documents. Although not entirely secure for sensitive documents, this is clearly an option.

However, advances in technology brings many new tools into the boardroom making the business of managing charter school boards much more efficient. Charter schools are increasingly finding that electronic board portals incorporate many helpful templates and processes within the security of a portal.

How Board Portals Support Meeting Cycles

As Board Chair of KIPP Minnesota for five years, I found board meeting preparation very time consuming. The meeting cycle required careful attention to detail which was compounded by a lack of a centralized board platform.

Meeting Preparations

A whirlwind of activity occurs preparing for a board meeting, creating an agenda, gathering reports, ensuring quorum and complying with Open Meeting Law, finalizing the meeting location, distributing board packets and ensuring your authorizer is included in the process.

Portal Advantage:

  • Board packet is created within the portal with last-minute additions made seamlessly.
  • No mistaken/missed meetings – the schedule is available real time in the portal, including RSVP function to manage quorum.
  • Authorizer provided with selective board packet access including any real-time additions.
  • Board members can create digital notes and comments for a private version of the board packet.

Following through on task completion

The meeting may generate some action items for board members. And some of the agenda items may have been tabled or moved to committee work.

Portal Advantage:

  • Simply using the “Task Box” feature, the Board Chair or administrator can add action items for individual board members with automated reminders for follow-up steps.
  • Something tabled? The Board Chair can update the agenda for the next month within the portal and gradually build out the board packet.
  • Each committee also has a private workroom to assist with work flow and document management.
  • Committees can use the “Discussion” function within their work room to avoid long email trains between meetings, assuming there is not a quorum of the board.

How our board portal supports the annual task cycle

To streamline annual tasks, our board management portal, partnering with BoardEffect, provides Minnesota specific tools and templates to complete the following processes:

  • Conflict of Interest Survey
  • Board Member Skills Analysis Survey
  • Meeting Satisfaction Survey
  • Director Performance Review
  • Board Orientation Template
  • Board Handbook Template and Sample Table of Contents
  • Board Surveys
  • Board Self-Assessment Survey
  • Board Committee Assessment Survey
  • Board Member Assessment Survey

Sample Documents and Resources

In addition to built-in survey applications, the library boasts over 140 sample documents, articles and studies. No need to recreate a nomination form, board dashboard, school goals framework, election ballot or leadership succession plan.  Simply access the library charter school resource center. Laborious tasks that once took hours now take just minutes to implement.

How we support board member development and training

Best practices and Minnesota law indicate charter boards should provide annual board development. Access to the following assists the onboarding of new board members.

Board Basics Webinar Series – We provide a seamless, convenient platform to train board members complete with authorizer report generation. Our growing library presented by local Minnesota experts include:

  • Best Practices of High Performing Boards
  • Top Pitfalls of Open Meeting Law Every Board Member Should Know
  • New Board Member Basics
  • Creating an Affiliated Building Company
  • Charter School Budget Basics
  • Employment Law for Charter Schools

Board Chats –  A monthly charter school conference call available for discussions and questions with fellow Minnesota board members. Do you have questions regarding Issues such as performance reviews, Minnesota Open Meeting Law, succession planning or engaging board members? Jump on anytime for a quick question or stay the entire 60 minutes and join in on the conversation.

Board Handbook – Use our board handbook function and template for ease of a professionally formatted electronic handbook.

Technology applications provide many benefits for boards as they strive for greater transparency and accountability. An electronic board portal is a one-stop solution that sets the stage for improved communication, greater board member engagement, enhanced collaboration and informed connectivity across board cycles.

Click here to learn more about our board management portal.



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