School board finds self-evaluation process helpful
New questionnaire from state not so great
Board members took a close look Sept. 24 at how they have operated over the past year, and came out pretty pleased with themselves. The annual self-evaluation of the Humboldt Unified School District Governing Board took place at its work/study session at the District Office, where board members spent nearly an hour discussing their answers to the Arizona School Board Association’s new questionnaire.
Board members were not totally satisfied with the online tool, mainly because of the wording of questions and because it did not provide space for comments. Overall, the board indicated its evaluation supports members’ self-reflection and high-functioning abilities as a collaborative board.
Board members Paul Ruwald and Corey Christians, as other new board members in the past, answered “Don’t Know” on several questions if they hadn’t yet participated in actions about which the survey asked. That skewered the percentages and left no place with which to comment.
Confusion on wording was evident when members’ answers were all over the scale on a couple of questions. This was evident with “To what extent does our board seek public input during the budget process?”
Board President Ryan Gray reminded board members that they vote on the budget at five public board meetings during the year. Superintendent Dan Streeter said the district has in place a method for taking public input at every board meeting.
“And what does ‘seek’ mean? The process that allows public input? Or do we go out and seek input, like on Facebook?” Christians asked.
“This board does an exemplary job getting public input,” Streeter said, citing an example where the new elementary art program committee was made up, in part, of community members.
More mixed answers occurred with a question about ensuring the public is well-informed on the board’s roles and responsibilities. Vice President Rich Adler said he often gets blank stares when he mentions he sits on a school board. “Do people really know what the school board is? What does it do?”
Board member Suzie Roth echoed his query. “As a parent and a community member, you just make these assumptions,” she said. “People hear Arizona is No. 50 in the nation. That doesn’t mean we’re No. 50, it’s just based on money given per pupil, not that our students are performing at number 50.”
Adler said he’d like to see more people attend the district’s Community Conversation meetings. “Facebook posts obviously are not reaching everybody,” he added.
The questions asking about working together as a board and with the superintendent, received 100 percent, with combined “Always” and “Most of the time” responses on queries about mutual trust, commitment, problem-solving and decision-making actions.
By and large, Adler said the engagement of Streeter and board members with each other, the community and staff is better than ever.
“I hear much more now than ever the way the superintendent and board approach decision-making with staff, the morale is much better in general. I have a comparison and there’s a big improvement,” he said. “And we’re always looking for how to do it even better.”
The HUSD Governing Board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Humboldt Elementary School, 2750 S. Corral St.