Boards should “govern, not operate” schools— but some are so dedicated to this separation of duties that that they eschew committees devoted to student programs. At Aptonym, we think that’s a mistake.
The mission of a school is delivered through its programs. The student experience is the life’s blood of school culture and morale, branding and marketing, admissions and college acceptance, alumni success and future giving. When Trustee committees acknowledge the centrality of the student experience, they send a powerful message about what’s important.
The only caution? Most Trustees are recruited for the knowledge they already possess— but any discussion of student programs requires a lot of listening and learning. Each school is a unique community of learners: teenagers are complex, and the pace of change in education is faster than ever. Trustees who orient to their duties through the lens of their own, long past, school experiences may promote out-of-date thinking that eliminates their credibility and relevance on the board and, ultimately, imperils the school’s ability to flourish.