Simbli's Board Management Software for Strategic Planning

Top 10 Tips for Effective Strategic Planning

Effective Strategic Planning Can Lead to Transformational Change

With the demands and complexities of public school systems in the 21st century, it is hard to imagine how school districts can continue raising the bar without effective and comprehensive strategic planning.

As I talk with people about strategic planning, I typically see people fall into one of two camps. Those who love it and those who hate it. Those that hate it usually do as a result of a bad experience. I can’t say that I blame them. We have all either experienced or heard stories where a lot of time, effort, and money was put into developing a strategic plan only to find it sit on a shelf. We call those S.P.O.T.S. (Strategic Plans on the Shelf).

Stakeholders were not included in the process, it was not effectively communicated, it was not embraced, nobody knew their role in it, and heaven forbid people actually used it to make decisions. As with most things, people like me who love strategic planning are typically those who also love lists. Therefore, I have come up with my own “Top Ten” list for effective strategic planning.

1. Strategic planning is a PROCESS, not an EVENT

Strategic planning is not something you do as a single event. Rather, it is a part of a continuous improvement process. It never ends. It is not something you do, check off the list, and then move on to something else.

2. Keep it SIMPLE

When done correctly, strategic planning is not simple. It is actually very comprehensive and complex. However, in order to effectively develop it, communicate it, and weave it into the fabric of your organization, you need to adopt a simple framework that everyone can easily understand. We believe that the entire process can be broken down into five essential questions as follows:

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How will we know when we have arrived?
  • How do we plan to get there?
3. Involve ALL stakeholders

Effective strategic planning is not done in isolation. This one cannot be over emphasized. Stakeholders need to be involved early and often. Don’t wait until you have already developed a plan to engage them. Make them a part of the process before, during and after. After all, the stakeholders are the ones that you will have to depend on to implement the plan.

3.5 Measurable Results (slipped this in so it would hit a “round 10. See if anyone notices!)

Your plan must include measurable results. We call them “Performance Measures”. If not, then people will never know when the goal has been achieved.

4. Accountability

People are the ones who get things done. If your plan does not get down to the point of having specific people responsible for initiatives within your plan, then the work will never get done because nobody will have ownership in it.

5. Due Dates

Without an agreed due date, there is a good chance the work will never get done. Setting due dates help prioritize the work and provides the framework for allocating resources to get things done.

6. Costs

All initiatives have a cost, whether hard or soft. If they are not defined, then it is likely that they will not be planned for in your budgeting process. Nothing can be more frustrating than going through the planning process only to find out that the things you said were important have not been accounted for in the budget. Budgeting is not separate from the strategic planning process, it is actually a part of it. Budgets are where you put your money where your mouth is. If your strategic plan says one thing but your budget says something entirely different, then you have a problem.

7. Align it

Your strategic plan cannot be separate from everything else. The strategic plan comes first and then everything else you do must be aligned back to it. This should include things like your budget, operational plans, school improvement plans, project plans, meetings (both board and staff meetings), policies, evaluations, etc. If it’s not aligned then you should be asking yourself…why are we doing it?

8. Communicate it

You simply can’t over-communicate. Communicating the plan has to be done in multiple ways to engage and inform all stakeholders. Everyone should know what the plan is and what their role is in executing it. Find out how your various stakeholders prefer to receive information and try to meet them where they are.

9. Track it

If you have no way to track it, then even the best of plans can fall to the wayside simply because it became too complicated or too time-consuming to keep up with it. Tools are now out there to automate and streamline this process…use them!

10. Live it

For it to be labeled as “effective” planning, it must produce “effective” results. Planning has to become a part of the culture and climate of your organization. It has to be infused in everything you do and it should start from the top. If the board and leadership team “live it”, then it is more likely that people at all levels of the organization will too.

Strategic planning when done right is not easy. It takes a lot of time and hard work. There are no shortcuts. However, once embedded into the culture and climate of an organization, it does get easier as it becomes “the way” you do things. And most importantly, it DOES produce transformational results.

Well, there you have it. These are my top tips for effective strategic planning. If you have others, please share them so we can all learn from each other.

Creating a Performance Culture

Create a Performance Culture in Your School District

Defining a Performance Culture

Education leaders want their districts and schools to be high performing. To do that, leaders recognize that they must create Performance Cultures.

But what exactly is does this mean and what do leaders do to create a Performance Culture?

Culture, simply defined, means “the way we do things around here.”

At Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI), we define Performance Culture as an organizational culture where a critical mass of stakeholders agrees to and takes responsibility for the identified, targeted results of the organization.

Who wouldn’t want stakeholders to believe passionately in what the district is trying to achieve and to actively engage in helping the district achieve its desired results?

Having key internal and external stakeholders “on board” with improving student learning and organizational effectiveness may seem like a pipe dream. However, GLISI’s eight years of experience working with 168 of Georgia’s 181 school districts, reveals these common elements across districts that have successfully created Performance Cultures:

1. Leadership – Leadership matters.

We know of no cases of districts that have created a strong Performance Culture without strong leadership at the helm. When Boards of Education and superintendents create a shared vision, clearly adhere to their distinct roles and responsibilities, and communicate their commitment to the district strategic direction, the district is well positioned to create and sustain a Performance Culture.

2. Focus – Clarity counts.

Leaders of successful districts create a laser focus on student achievement. In order to achieve this focus, districts communicate their mission, vision and values in powerful and consistent ways across multiple audiences – continually. The district Future Story is clearly communicated so that others can catch the vision from the “as is” state to the “to be” state of improved performance.

3. Alignment – Alignment accelerates.

Random acts of improvement lead to confusion and consternation among well intentioned people who are working as hard as they can at cross purposes. Leaders must illuminate the way. In order to ensure aligned and integrated acts of improvement, leaders of Performance Cultures engage in a comprehensive strategic planning process that engages all stakeholder groups to instill a continuous improvement process. (Many utilize the EBS eBOARD tool and the strategic planning process that the Georgia School Boards Association has worked collaboratively with GLISI and GPEE to put together to assist in developing, executing, monitoring and reporting the plan.) Balanced scorecards, Strategy Maps, Strategic Plans, Program Plans, Project Plans, Improvement Plans and strategic management tools are developed, cascaded and consistently monitored to create organizational alignment, prevent silos, and motivate and achieve desired behaviors and performance. Such processes result in alignment from the Board Room to the Classroom and create the conditions for a vibrant Performance Culture.

4.Balanced Performance Improvement – Balance boosts performance.

While student achievement is the primary focus, effective district leaders know the importance of a systemic approach. Leaders who create Performance Cultures also pay attention to Organizational Effectiveness to make sure that work processes are smooth, efficient and effective. By setting performance measures for organizational effectiveness, leaders focus on fixing problems rather than fixing blame on people. They also set performance measures for Stakeholder Engagement, Team Learning and Growth and other areas of district priority so they take a balanced approach to creating a Performance Culture.

5. Execution – Execution demands disciplined leadership action.

Planning is important, but translating the plan into action delivers results. Disciplined leadership action is required to create the conditions for success, achieve targeted results, and increase the likelihood that plans and initiatives will achieve desired outcomes. Execution is hard work because it involves leading the change – a mental model shift to a Performance Culture.

6. Student and Stakeholder Engagement – Engagement energizes.

People support what they help to create. Our experience suggests that district leaders who invest time and energy in engaging students and other key internal and external stakeholders help these key players know how their involvement contributes significantly to results achieved. By engaging a critical mass of stakeholders, district leaders ensure long term sustainability of the Performance Culture.

7. Talent Management – Having the right people is critical.

Leaders of Performance Cultures take the job of finding, growing and keeping the right people seriously. Often a person’s talent shines when that individual is placed in the right seat on the bus, as Jim Collins would say. Growing talent and tending to the development of people includes setting clear expectations, creating competency models that articulate desired leader behaviors, providing updated job descriptions, giving ongoing performance feedback (the breakfast of champions), affording meaningful development opportunities aligned to the district direction and individual performance needs, and ensuring that people see themselves as part of a team focused on meaningful work are all part of investing in human capital for improved performance.

8. Accountability for Results – Accountability is a value.

In true Performance Cultures, people view accountability as a value. They want to show Return on Investment of time, energy and resources for improved student learning. The key is a focus on continuous improvement. The leader who communicates that the accountability effort is part of a continuous improvement process and not a “gotcha” is more likely to meet with success in creating and sustaining a Performance Culture.

9. Monitoring – Monitoring makes a difference in results.

It is easy to get side-tracked in improvement efforts. People are pulled in a thousand directions. But successful leaders help people keep their eye on the prize. By making improvement plans a living, breathing document with regular check-ins and follow through, leaders make their dreams of creating and sustaining a Performance Culture a reality.

10. Communication – Communication connects the dots.

Relentless communication helps everyone remember and live the mission, vision, values and goals of an organization. Some leaders use the Balanced Scorecard on their website as a communication tool. Others keep stakeholders updated via eBoard. No matter the tool, leaders keep audience and purpose in mind and know that turning data into information and communicating progress and results continually is key to creating and sustaining a Performance Culture.

These elements serve as critical success factors for districts and schools that aspire to create and sustain Performance Cultures. Georgia is on the move because our education leaders recognize the importance of peak performance for their students, staffs and organizations.

4 Steps for Handling a School Closure in Your District

Developing Effective School Closure Strategies

The Importance of Proactive School Communication

Savvy school leaders know that closing a school is one of the more difficult assignments today’s leaders face. Even when all the facts are on their side, they are often seen as the “evil, non-caring administrators” who are taking away the cherished neighborhood school that, over the years, was the community hub and seemingly owned by the local neighborhood. But for a host of good reasons – often safety, enrollment and related costs – the school needs to be closed. If you find yourself or your district in this situation, we urge you to follow the thoughtful, caring, and effective school closure strategies shared by Denise Berkhalter, APR, director of public relations for the Alabama Association of School Boards. Like most scenarios where communication is a critical component of a decision, we join Denise in urging you to get out front early and engage those directly touched by the potential school closing.

We thank Denise for her contribution. Even if you are currently building schools to meet swelling enrollments, Denise’s article gives you a practical blueprint to deal with potential controversy or other emotional issues in your school community.

Rich Bagin, APR
NSPRA Executive Director

Without Ongoing Community Engagement, School Closures Can Devastate

Denise L. Berkhalter, APR

Education leaders don’t just wake up one day and determine to close a school without reason. Arriving at that destination usually results from a long, arduous journey that may have included hard internal conversations about declining enrollment, funding stress, troubling trend lines, transportation woes, deteriorating facilities and the like.

Shuttering a school building may be the only feasible option. But vocal community critics – who contend the school was closed without reason or regard – are hardly unexpected when there is a clear lack of information. The news is shamefully overdue if the first time a community hears about a possible school closure is at a board meeting or in a community forum. At that point, options are limited and the community knows that even if education leaders listen to them and make adjustments to accommodate as many concerns as possible, ultimately there is little way around closing the school.

Is there any real wonder why uninformed communities erupt in firestorms over school closings and mergers? School closures and mergers are no fun for anyone. Expect some level of disappointment, hurt, fear or anger in your community when such decisions have to be made. But outright protests to cry foul could be substantially limited or possibly eliminated by avoiding one simple error. Don’t make the decision for the community but rather with the community.
Don’t make the decision for the community but rather with the community.

The community isn’t a faceless mass of people out there on the fringes of your school system. They are real people with real emotions. They are invested in the community and in education. These are people whose lives will be disrupted or otherwise impacted by the decision to close a school. Some will lose jobs, their alma mater, a safe haven for their children, a steady supply of customers, a community gathering place, a symbol of the community’s identity, a source of school spirit, the rush of team pride. You get the picture.

Taking these steps may lessen the bitter backlash.

Step 1 – Know Your Data, Both Quantitative and Qualitative.

Do your research beyond the basic feasibility study. You also need to know the demographics of the closing schools’ neighborhoods and look for any disparities. If you’re closing multiple schools, how many of these schools’ populations are predominantly of one race? What percentage of the city’s population is of that race? How many of the closing schools are in nearly homogenous neighborhoods? If all school closures are in high-poverty neighborhoods, what are the reasons for that? At what level do people use their schools as a source of employment or as a community resource? When asked, how vital would locals say the closing schools are to their neighborhood? Cull data not only from parents, students and staff but also area business owners, community organizations, real estate agents, personnel at feeder schools and others. Really think about the kinds of data you’d like to collect to get a true sense of how locals feel about closing their schools.

Step 2 – Share the Data Well Before School Closure Is Ever an Option.

As education leaders, you know there is normally substantial time spent mining data before that fateful realization that it’s time to close a school. You know the numbers and reasoning are sound. You usually have time to process this data-based decision and acclimate to the reality of it. So, why give the community months, weeks or even days to draw the same conclusion?

Take the community along with you on this difficult journey. If you used a set of criteria to determine which schools should close – age and size of the facility, enrollment numbers, population shifts – share those factors. Share data and information quickly to limit misinformation and rumors.
If a school closure is “breaking news” to your community, then you have already created trouble for yourself.

Think about the kinds of data that would be most meaningful to the community and present it in an easy-to-digest format. For instance, are you losing students? Does declining enrollment mean less state funding? Will the inevitable result be personnel reductions, fewer academic and extracurricular programs and more costly challenges? Why doesn’t it make fiscal sense to build an entirely new school where the dilapidated facility is or to constantly repair the leaky roof on the old building? How much has been spent on facilities upkeep, and how often is maintenance done? Do you conduct exit interviews to find out why students are leaving the school or why parents aren’t enrolling their children in the schools? Are there even enough school-age children left in the community to fill a school?

Step 3 – Share Ownership of the Problems, and Ask the Community to Help Solve Them.

What comes next is truly unsettling to education leaders who are used to the quiet, controlled comfort of an isolated school system. Share responsibility and decision making with your community.

Bake sales won’t keep a school open indefinitely. But community brainstorming could lead to some very creative approaches to problem solving and encourage shared ownership. If school leaders and the community are both working on a problem and come to a similar conclusion, then the decision is being made with the community rather than for it.

These brainstorming sessions and related community conversations should not be one-time events, either. They should occur often, and not just around the viability of a school. Honesty is also required. The magnitude of the problem should not be sugar-coated, and there should be no hesitation in asking the community what it can do to help. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. The community may come up with enough funds to keep the school open long enough for the current senior class to graduate. You just won’t know until you have the conversation.

In the end, if the only logical option is to develop a closure plan, allow the community a meaningful voice in determining that plan. Then keep the community informed. When leaving a blank where there should be an answer, you shouldn’t be surprised when people fill it in.

Step 4 – Weather the Storm and Point to the Rainbow.

People love their community schools. Losing one is a serious blow. Acknowledge that and honor it. Host a homecoming that brings back alumni to see the last senior class graduate. Give away commemorative bricks from the demolished facility in exchange for buying a new brick to help fund the new facility. Keep part or all of the old school’s name when naming the new school. If merging schools, consider merging one of the old school’s colors with one of the new school’s colors or having a new mascot that is chosen by the incoming students and the existing student body. The point is to find ways to respect the community’s loss and honor the history and heritage of the closing school.
People love their community schools. Losing one is a serious blow. Acknowledge that and honor it. Host a homecoming that brings back alumni to see the last senior class graduate. Give away commemorative bricks from the demolished facility in exchange for buying a new brick to help fund the new facility.

Transitioning will give rise to a new set of difficulties to overcome. Give the community a heads up and, when possible, a say-so in addressing issues. Transportation challenges, for example, may eventually be alleviated by the addition of bus drivers. They should know that. A two-week summer camp may help students establish new friendships and become familiar with their new school facility and teachers. The community may be willing to fund that.

Then comes the fun part: telling the good news. Rainstorms often end with a rainbow. Point to it. The good news may be students will now learn in a safer, more modern facility. Classes may be smaller because the school system can afford more teachers. Students may have access to Advanced Placement courses, the arts, a variety of sports or other academic and extracurricular activities they didn’t have access to before. The good news may simply be there are now enough parking spaces for all upperclassmen who wish to drive their cars. Dwell on the good, big and small.

Other Considerations for School Closures

There you have it. My public relations advice on school closures in a sizeable nutshell. Not what you expected? Alright, alright. Make sure you have these things in place, too:

  • An established and trained spokesperson
  • An up-to-date plan for communicating school closure(s)
  • Talking points and fact sheets
  • A solid working relationship with the media
  • Regular conversations with key influencers in your community
  • The ability to host social media conversations
  • Up-to-date information posted regularly on your website(s)
  • Information-rich news releases
  • News conferences to announce the pivotal aspects of the closure(s)
  • Community listening posts and forums
  • Public hearings
  • The release of feasibility study findings,
  • The release of architectural drawings,
  • Public speeches
  • Parent and student meetings
  • Staff discussions about the closures

All are good tools and techniques. Yet, I remain firm in my advice for education leaders. Engage often in two-way communication with your internal stakeholders (those who work for and learn in the schools) and external stakeholders (parents, neighbors, businesses, faith leaders and others impacted by your schools). Inform and truly listen to them. Build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Work hard at systematically building the will for community support.

The aforementioned steps admittedly won’t work in regard to every school closure, specifically those resulting from unforeseen emergencies. Still, an engaged and informed community is the best defense in many situations facing local schools. If a school closure is “breaking news” to your community, then you have already created trouble for yourself.

Denise Berkhalter, APR
Director of Public Relations, Alabama Association of School Boards


How Districts Improve Productivity with Simbli

Board Management Software Simple to Use, Enhances Productivity

Roscoe Board Clerk Becky Ahart calls Simbli “simple to use.” Ulster BOCES Board Clerk Roxanne Babcock says the system “puts everything at your fingertips.” And Cheektowaga Board Clerk Mary Ann Miano says it “enhances productivity.” With their decades of combined experience managing school board information in the state of New York, these clerks have all been won over by the same system — eBOARDsolutions (EBS).

Although their needs as Board Clerks vary greatly — from Ulster BOCES, which is involved with eight school districts in Ulster County, to the Cheektowaga district with 2,400 students, the commonality is that Simbli is a solution that works universally. Today, more than ever, school boards are expected to maintain a high level of education for their students while confronted with stronger demands and less resources.

Challenges Facing Today’s Boards

Our boards must face a steady stream of negative school media reports, as well as upset taxpayers. Teachers and administrators struggle to keep up with unfunded mandates, new evaluation demands, and changes in educational requirements. Our boards are also tasked with reading volumes of documentation on everything from evaluations to strategic plans to proposed spending.

With the advent of the Open Meetings law, it is increasingly important to streamline board meetings and get the required information to the public in a timely and efficient manner. Additionally, with the tax cap mandate, schools are now considering layoffs and school closures at a rate never seen before. These actions take planning and oversight that can encompass a large group of people contributing to the overall picture. Fortunately, there is help available for districts, and it has a proven track record in the Mid-Hudson Region.

Economizing School Board Operations

eBOARDsolutions (EBS), backed with over 55 years experience in board governance and association management, is a subsidiary of the Georgia School Boards Association. Their suite of web-based products is designed to streamline and economize school board operations and help improve productivity. Their online meeting management solution allows district clerks to manage each meeting completely paperless.

Administrators in the district can electronically submit their agenda items to the District Clerk where the items are reviewed and accepted or rejected electronically. Once an agenda item is accepted, it will become a part of the published agenda. Security in the software allows the board clerk to mark items as confidential or open to the public view. Contrary to a paper-based system, “when something needs to be revised or changed, it can be done very easily,” commented Ms. Miano. “Putting the agenda together is less time-consuming and very user friendly.”

During board meetings, votes are tallied directly in the software and are available immediately to be published at the time the minutes are approved. The software is also available as an application on iPads so the board no longer has to worry about clunky laptops. This eliminates sharing of documents through unsecure email and delivery of volumes of paper prior to meetings. The savings on preparation, printing, paper, ink, and delivery alone will help the bottom line of the school district budget.

The policy feature of the software allows a district to load all school board policies and have everything available through a secure website. This facilitates the process of checking that BOE actions are in accordance with policy. It also will link to meeting minutes within the software. Using the policy module makes policies easier to research through the advanced search engines, as well as providing the added benefit of a regularly updated policy manual. This helps school districts to be open and transparent in their operations.

“Thanks to Simbli, everyone who is interested can see what is going on at Ulster BOCES,” says Roxanne Babcock. “If you want to know, just visit Simbli on”

Mrs. Babcock also noted that since the advent of the Simbli system “Freedom of Information” (FOIL) requests from the media have been eliminated. “Simbli makes it easy for the press to find what they are looking for,” she says.

Strategic Planning for a Brighter Future

When it comes time for districts to make future plans for their schools, strategic planning is a must. The Strategic Planning module allows the plan organizer to work with a team to set up the plan, assign tasks to anyone involved in the plan, set goals and deadlines, and keep constant track of the plans progress.

The software allows individualized permissions per user, the plan can be open to any invested parties to monitor and make recommendations on improvements. From localized to district wide goals, strategic planning will streamline the process and ensure a complete and timely conclusion. All these software modules work together to free up time so that the district can focus on their main purpose – to educate the children.

School boards, departments of education, and colleges in 18 states are using this product to manage their board meetings, store and maintain board policies, plan, and communicate with stakeholders. They love the way all the modules interconnect and give them the information they need quickly and easily. The modules are designed to either work together or as stand alone, depending on district needs.

This article was first published in the 2013 issue of the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center Newsletter.

Digital School District Survey

eBOARDsolutions Users Win Digital School District Survey

eBOARDsolutions is pleased to recognize and congratulate this year’s winners of the 2016 Digital School District Survey. Fourteen of this year’s winners are eBOARD users who continue to model and leverage the effective use of technology from the boardroom to the classroom.

The study, coordinated by the Center for Digital Education and in partnership with the National School Boards Association, showcases exemplary school boards’ and districts’ use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community, and improve district operations.

“We are honored to have so many eBOARDsolutions users as winners of the Digital School District Survey this year, said Mark Willis, Chief Operating Officer for eBOARDsolutions. “School districts recognize the importance and efficiency of technology and how they can leverage it to their advantage and model the creative innovation for the entire community.”

2015-2016 Digital School District Survey Top 10-Ranking Winners

Large Student Population District Category (12,000 students or more):

  • 3rd Houston County School System, Ga.
  • 5th Forsyth County Schools, Ga.
  • 5th Hall County School District, Ga.
  • 7th Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Ga.
  • 9th DeKalb County School District, Ga.

Mid-sized Student Population District Category (3,000 – 12,000 students):

  • 1st White County School District, Ga.
  • 4th Jefferson City Schools, Ga.
  • 4th Monroe County Schools, Ga.
  • 5th City Schools of Decatur, Ga.
  • 5th Oconomowoc Area School District, Wis.
  • 7th Marietta City Schools, Ga.
  • 10th Dothan City Schools, Ala.

Small Student Population District Category (3,000 students or less):

  • 9th Jasper County School District, Ga.
  • 10th Chickamauga City School System, Ga.

Awards were presented by the Center for Digital Education at the National School Boards Association Conference.

View the Center for Digital Education: Digital School Districts Survey.


Alabama School Boards Praise eBOARDsolutions

Alabama School Boards Praise

In an article published in the Dothan Eagle, eBOARDsolutions received praise from several local Alabama school boards citing the value and cost-savings of the system.

The article discusses the Coffee County School System’s approval of the contract for newly appointed Superintendent Terry Weeks. During that same meeting, the board also gave Weeks the authority to decide on whether or not to adopt eBOARD’s Evaluation software to evaluate the superintendent, central office personnel, principals, assistant principals and teachers around the school system.

In the article, District 6 Representative Shag LaPrade notes that he had spoken with superintendents from Athens, Hartselle and Sylacauga, all of whom spoke positively about the solution.

“They just love it and think it’s the greatest thing in the world,” LaPrade said. “They have the full blown eBoard system program … They said we’d be getting those once we became enticed with this one.”

LaPrade said he also spoke with secretaries in Guntersville and Albertville who said the software “saved them a lot of work.” He noted that eBOARD would save the school system money and provide effective evaluation experiences.

The article also reported that the motion passed unanimously that Weeks would talk with eBoard representatives to determine if the software would be something for the system to pursue.

Visit the Dothan Eagle site to read the full article.

Update: Since the publication of this article, Coffee County has adopted eBOARD’s Meetings, Policies and Evaluations software.


Reader's Choice Awards

eBOARDsolutions Wins Readers’ Choice Awards

Wins Readers’ Choice Awards

eBOARDsolutions has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K-12 leaders who named it to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2015.”

“Our users have nominated us in 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2015,” said Mark Willis, eBOARDsolutions Chief Operating Officer. “We are appreciative and committed more than ever to delivering a quality product and top-notch service, and we are honored to receive this designation for the fourth time. eBOARDsolutions will continue to help boards of education Get More Done.”

The winners were compiled from 2,100-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. The Readers’ Choice Top Products has been announced online and will appear in the December 2015 issue of District Administration.

District Administrations Readers’ Choice Top Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas, such as technology, sustainability and curriculum instruction.

“It was inspiring to learn about the products being used in today’s schools and classrooms that are helping districts succeed,” said JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “All of our 2015 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

View the complete list of winners here, or see the December issue of District Administration magazine.

About eBOARDsolutions

eBOARDsolutions is software built to help boards and the people who work with them get more done. Our four integrated modules can help align meeting agenda items with policies, strategic plans, accreditation and board member evaluations. To learn more, visit the eBOARDsolutions products page.

About District Administration

District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit


Associated School Boards of SD Adopt Simbli


The Associated School Boards of South Dakota (ASBSD) is preparing for a transition from their current school board policy system to the eBOARDsolutions Policy software. The Policy software will provide ASBSD the opportunity to offer their members features that will streamline the overall school board policy process. In advance of their October 1 launch date, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota have communicated with their members about the transition and the benefits that come with the move.

ASBSD is attempting to ease this transition by spending a good portion of their communication efforts reassuring their board members that the new system from eBOARDsolutions will still provide them free access to our more than 400 sample school board policies, as well as allow them to review the policies of school districts who are members of the ASBSD “school board policy community.”

Currently, ASBSD has six school districts that have joined the community and they wanted to highlight them to show other school districts that these new community members are from all over the state. To do this, ASBSD took South Dakota’s public school districts’ official map and highlighted the school board Policy module community members by highlighting each community member in their official school color. ASBSD believes that as additional school districts join our school board Policy community this map will become a striking, and colorful, marketing tool.

ASBSD also included a testimonial from an administrator whose school district uses our online policy service, and the document’s final page highlights the benefits of the ASBSD-eBOARDsolutions partnership. eBOARDsolutions Business Development Manager, Dan Wilkins, was instrumental in assisting ASBSD with the development of the brochure by providing feedback and helping them craft their message.

eBOARDsolutions is looking forward to the launch of ASBSD’s new Policy module!

Original article written by:

Tyler Pickner
Director of Communications
Associated School Boards of South Dakota

MSBA eBOARDsolutions Partnership

MSBA Partners with eBOARDsolutions for Board Portal


Responding to today’s challenges of school systems for the need for transparency, workflow efficiencies and effective leadership, the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) has partnered with eBOARDsolutions, the provider of a unique suite of web-based tools that helps school leadership teams streamline and align their governance and leadership work. Unlike other tools that only work at the board level, eBOARD can be used at ALL levels and departments within a school district.

MSBA’s partnership with eBOARDsolutions will help districts implement technology tools that can drive changes in process that will then improve student success. The integrated modules within eBOARD will be used to support other MSBA services such as:

  • Visioning and strategic planning
  • Engaging the community and building public trust through transparency
  • Running effective board meetings
  • Board self-assessments
  • Superintendent evaluations

Sharon Horbyk will be joining eBOARDsolutions to serve as a liaison between MSBA, eBOARDsolutions and the local school districts. Ms. Horbyk’s background as a local board member, a past president of MSBA and a former member of its board of directors, and most recently executive director of the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce will help her understand the challenges faced by the local school boards and how eBOARD can be an effective governance solution.

Dr. Carter Ward, MSBA executive director states: “We believe eBOARD is an exemplary organizational tool that will help the leadership in Missouri Schools keep their work aligned and focused on their shared vision of the future of public education. Sharon’s insight and experience as both a local school board member and an MSBA state officer is perfect for her new role with eBOARDsolutions. She is in a unique position to assist school boards in their critical leadership responsibilities. We are very excited about the potential of this partnership.”