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October 24, 2016 | Spotlight

Charter school district seeks governance training through Institute collaboration

Charter school district seeks governance training through Institute collaboration

Writer: Roger Nielsen

The Institute of Government is developing an eight-module curriculum to provide local school governance teams with the critical knowledge necessary to effectively provide guidance through neighborhood and community involvement for 21 public schools in the Clarke County School District.

Beginning in January, the Institute will provide courses for selected school and community leaders through a partnership the Institute established with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and the Northeast Georgia Regional Education Service Agency (RESA).

Institute faculty member Russ Cook is coordinating the development of the School Governance Team Training Program, which is scheduled to continue through the end of 2017. "We are going to design and deliver eight training modules covering governance team members' roles and responsibilities, managing effective meetings, community engagement, human resources, school operations, school improvement, school budgeting, and one covering curriculum, instruction, and assessment," Cook said.

The Athens school district became a charter system July 1 and by law must establish governance teams comprising administrators, teachers, parents, community members and others to assist with governing the school in the areas of personnel, finance and resources allocation, curriculum and instruction, school improvement and school operations. Under the charter system, each school in the district will have a Local School Governance Team that includes parents and others from the school's attendance zone and districtwide. Members of the teams are elected by their peer groups and some are appointed by each school team. School principals are members by virtue of their position.

"The Institute of Government will provide overall project management and technical assistance on an ongoing basis," Cook said. "In addition to the design, development, and implementation of these modules, the Fanning Institute is going to provide two leadership academy training programs for up to approximately 50 governance team members."

Institute faculty are designing three of the training modules, faculty with Fanning are developing two modules, and three are being created through the Northeast Georgia RESA. Foothills Superintendent Sherrie Gibney-Sherman, who has assisted charter districts throughout the state, is serving as an adviser on the project.

Courses covering governance team members' roles and responsibilities and managing effective meetings are scheduled to be presented in early 2017, with additional courses planned monthly throughout the year.