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Professional Opinion

No school is immune. Every school faces risks of harm, loss and vulnerabilities in their operations, with their staff and students, or against their facilities. The daunting task faced by administrators lies in knowing how to identify and proactively manage those risks to ensure the safety and security of staff, minimize the disruption to school or district operations, and mitigate the negative impact when adverse incidents occur.

The Board’s role in governance is vital to be successful in leading the school district. Although governance models claim to discuss the full role of the board, many provide only half of the board’s responsibilities. In the traditional method of describing a typical school board, the community elects trustees to represent them in running the schools. An organization chart shows the community at the top with elected representatives sitting on a board. They would hire a superintendent who operates the schools.

What is our true work as K-12 HR Leaders? Is it to process I-9s? To ensure compliance with FLSA? To attend job fairs, manage position control, and ensure there’s a substitute in every classroom every day?

Today’s education system is facing a debilitating threat in the form of a “trust deficit” that is undermining school and district leadership. As trust in our education leaders declines, so does student learning due to delayed education reform, decreased student achievement and fractured communities.

Charles K. Trainor says an audit committee is an in-house, fail-safe mechanism that helps superintendents and the school board to identify risks and suggest solutions.

Tough economic conditions and shrinking revenues have increased competition for public funds. As a result, school districts are under intense scrutiny from state regulators and local taxpayers; any fiscal mismanagement receives harsh criticism.

Meghan Reilly Michaud says art is no longer used only to teach students about culture.

Today’s students encounter art in many aspects of everyday life. From the icons representing the applications on their smartphone to the paintings hung on the walls of a museum, the arts teach our students to interpret information. But art also instills skill sets for students pursuing any field of study.

These days, no discipline stands on its own. Visuals can simplify complex data in science in the same way that mathematics can structure appealing rhythmic patterns in music.

Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp once said, “If top recent college graduates devoted two years to teaching in public schools, they could have a real impact on the lives of disadvantaged kids.” I agree. TFA members and other short-term teachers have changed kids’ lives—for the worse.

As an idealistic Ivy League graduate, I was the student TFA likes to recruit. According to Kopp’s thesis, my education, academic achievements, and enthusiasm would transfer into great teaching.

When you drive the winding, wooded roads of Sandy Hook, Conn., the reminders of what happened here on Dec. 14, 2012, are everywhere.

The country’s obsession with high-stakes testing is an expensive, destructive failure. Students who can least afford it pay the biggest price.

When upgrading security, can districts afford to wait the weeks or months the purchasing process sometimes takes? A widely available but not very well-known funding option can speed things up.

We know there is a sense of urgency around funding safer schools—just think about the title of President Obama’s school safety plan: Now is the Time! The good news is that for district leaders who are willing to explore a new purchasing method, time and cost savings may be on the way.

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