The academic success and overall well-being of all Barrington students are the primary considerations in all Committee decisions.
Our policies provide for the objective, reasonable, equitable, and consistent treatment of issues.
BPS policies identify measurable outcomes or objectives, where possible, which assist in appraising the work of the District. We require the Administration to develop procedures and protocols in alignment with - and with citations to - appropriate Barrington Public Schools (BPS) policies and best practices. We review our policies and protocols on a regular basis. We commit to decisions, policies, and protocols that have been developed collaboratively and are aligned to the District’s strategic goals.
We encourage full exploration of diverse viewpoints from the community to inform the School Committee deliberations. As School Committee members, we will communicate frequently and regularly with community members, maintaining public trust through open dialogue. We advocate District positions on educational issues with legislators and other state and local political leaders, and we keep abreast of relevant state and national issues.
Once a final decision on a proposal has been made by a majority Committee vote, Committee members and the Superintendent will uphold the decision.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE AND ADMINISTRATION RELATIONSHIP
The School Committee and District Administration work in partnership while respecting the clear distinction between Committee and Superintendent/Administration responsibilities. We focus on strategic leadership and give direction through policy and budget decisions made by a majority vote of the Committee.
We embrace processes that create opportunities for direct dialogue between the School Committee, staff, community, and Administration. We work collaboratively with the Administration to formulate annual and five-year strategic goals, creating clear priorities for District resources, with deliverable expectations. The Administration and the School Committee will work collaboratively to clarify and restate discussions in order to achieve understanding and reach consensus. While we are responsive to issues arising outside of the Strategic Plan, they must be appropriately balanced with our commitment to a focused strategy.
Operational management functions are the responsibility of the Superintendent and staff. We refer all concerns to the Superintendent, and we do not give direction to any part of the District organization.
We take collective responsibility for our performance as a School Committee. We evaluate our performance on a semi-annual basis. We engage in School Committee development to assure continuous improvement in our capacity to govern effectively. We participate in professional development and commit the time and energy necessary to be informed and effective leaders.
We conduct a high-quality Superintendent evaluation on a semi-annual basis. We use our student achievement and well-being data, comparing it internally, with similar districts, and with aspirational districts, to evaluate District performance. We will communicate to the public the connection between our decisions, District performance, and student data.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE GENERAL PRINCIPLES
We will lead by example. We recognize and respect differences of perspective on the School Committee and among staff, students, families and the community, and we encourage respectful debate. We keep confidential matters confidential.
We govern legally, assuring that all of our actions are consistent with state and federal laws and with our own policies. We avoid actions that would be considered a conflict of interest. In compliance with RI General Law § 36-14-6, “Statement of Conflict of Interest,” we will recuse ourselves from any action or decision which would directly result in personal or family financial gain.
When speaking on behalf of the School Committee, we communicate only explicitly stated School Committee decisions. We recognize the Chairperson as the official voice of the School Committee. We may express our individual views and opinions to the community and the media while clearly indicating that we speak only for ourselves. When acting as a liaison for the School Committee, we speak only in our capacity as individuals.
We have the obligation to bring constituent issues or possible new initiatives to the School Committee or Superintendent. When considering those issues or initiatives, we are obligated to act in the best interest of the District as a whole. This supersedes any obligations based on:
●Membership in specific advocacy or special interest groups which advocate for advantage to an identifiable cohort of the population as opposed to the general welfare of all Barrington students;
●Membership on other boards or staff;
●Representation of a particular constituency or subset of the community;
●Personal or professional relationships.
To build trust among Committee members and to ensure an environment conducive to effective governance, we will:
●Focus on issues in support of our strategic goals;
●Respect decisions of the full School Committee;
●Exercise honesty in all interactions;
●Recognize the positive and negative aspects of dissent;
●Not publicly disparage the Superintendent, staff, or members of the public;
●Make every reasonable effort to protect the integrity and promote the positive image of BPS, the School Committee, and one another.
We have authority only when acting in a scheduled, appropriately-noticed Committee meeting. We will conduct these meetings in an efficient, transparent, and productive manner in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
Communicating with and listening to stakeholders in the District are among our primary responsibilities. To that end, we affirm the following:
●Effective public engagement is essential to creating an environment in which students, staff, families, and community members participate and contribute;
●Communication is a primary function of leadership;
●Well‐informed employees and citizens provide positive community support;
●Open, two‐way communication is critical to building trust with shareholders;
●Accurate, understandable, and timely communication is essential to the decision‐making processes of the school system;
●Using a variety of sources and strategies enhances the school system’s ability to communicate effectively and thoroughly;
●Communications strategies must be explicitly linked to the strategic mission and goals of the school system.
When a family or community member expresses a concern or complaint about a particular program or operation within the District, either in person or in writing, Committee members will:
●Listen carefully and respectfully;
●Recommend that the individual speak directly to the teacher, staff member or principal involved, or;
●Indicate to the individual that they will convey the information to the Superintendent, who will contact the individual or will have the responsible party speak with them;
●Share the concern or complaint with other Committee members via the Superintendent, in accordance with the limitations of the Open Meetings Act.
BPS Policy References