I was sworn in as a board director on July 14, and within an hour I was handed my first assignment — to chair the policy committee. My predecessor had been the policy committee chair, and the vice chair did not want to assignment, so I was pleased to take on this role.
I spent the first two weeks learning about school governance, meeting leaders in the administration, and reading the board policy manual. What I learned is that Board Policies are the one of the three main ways that the Board acts and exercises its authority (the other two are hiring/managing the superintendent, and setting the annual budget.) Policies set all of the key rules for the district, and policies also link UCFSD practices to those required by state and federal law.
I also quickly learned that the district had fallen far behind changes in state and federal law, and that most of our policies had not been reviewed or updated in over 10 years. The administration recognized this problem in 2013, and set out to revise the entire policy manual within 3 years. But in the first 9 months since that objective was set, the policy committee had updated fewer than 10% of the districts policies!
Working with Dr. Sanville, I developed a new plan for the policy committee to accelerate our review and more quickly get UCFSD policies in sync with state and federal requirements, and to leverage policy language recommended by the Pennsylvania School Board Association and used in peer districts across the state. I presented this plan ( UCFSD Policy Committee – Goals Strategy vFinal) to the Board on August 12, and we have been implementing the plan for the last two months.
In my first month we revised more policies that had been done in the prior 9 months.
More updates and statistics on policy committee progress will be posted next month.