Parent Joost Mes writes about preparing Parents as future Trustees.
To : ISM Interim Board
I am grateful to the Sustaining Members having stepped in and offering the solution of an Interim Board. It is sad this was necessary but under the circumstances this is the best way forward. The school can continue to operate in a neutral environment while there is time to prepare for structural changes that may be necessary in the ISM governance structure and election process. It is then to the ISM community which way they wish to head.
If I have to mention one Ďachievementí of the previous Board then it would be that they managed in record time to unite and mobilize the ISM community in an unprecedented way. The challenge for the ISM community now is not to look back and maintain and build on this unity in establishing change.
This means we have to have a serious look at the By-Laws (again), the Board Composition and the election process as was mentioned during the last special meeting.
In addition to this I believe some attention is required as to preparing parent Board Members for their future role. I feel that a major factor in the past crisis seemed to be that (some) parent Board Members did not seem to be aware of the role of a Board and there was no correction mechanism within the Board to address this. I think Christopher Rowan has a point when he remarks in his resignation letter that there were no opportunities to learn as a Board.
We seem to expect that parents without any Board experience fully appreciate their role as a Board Member. I am not sure if this is a realistic expectation.
Recently I received a message on this by an ISM alumni who was approached to become Parent Governor for her sonís school in the UK. Even though the powers of Governors are not as extensive as that of a Board Member I feel there are some lessons that can be learned in how Parent Governors are prepared for their role. They have to undergo several courses and have to subscribe to a code of conduct (attached).
While I am no advocate for long compulsory course or an exact copy of the UK example, I feel the lesson that can be learned from this approach is that some support should be offered. I am not aware to what this extent this is done at present but it seems there is none.
I have no illusion that preparing inexperienced parent Board members on their role will avoid the ill intentioned from trying to pursue their own agenda, but it may at least provide the vast majority of well intended, in-experienced parent Board Members with a good starting point to execute their role in an effective and responsible manner.
Some sites that have been provided to me and may be of use in learning more about this are: