To: Advisory Board members of Leeward Elementary School
From: Dottie Sunio, Advisory Board Consultant
Subject: Succeeding as a Board Member; Tasks; Teams; FAQs

In August 2010 Hawaii was selected to be one of the 9 states to be awarded “Race to the Top” money to be used to purchase laptop computers for the 3rd grade students at our school.  Our school was awarded $75,000 to purchase software and hardware.

As Advisory Board members you are tasked with the following:

  • You will be writing the proposal to purchase both the software and the laptop computers .   Leeward Elementary school uses Apple computers per our agreement with Apple Company. 
  • You will be selecting  software which will be used for the 3rd grade English classes and selecting which Apple laptop will be the best choice for this.  You need to research the Internet for educational software which is dedicated to enhance skills, both reading and writing, of  3rd grade English. You will need to be familiar with the 3rd grade curriculum and the objectives of Reading and Writing for this level.
  •  You will also prepare a budget using Excel which will take maximum advantage of the $75,000 allotted to our school. 
  • Lastly,you will be using PowerPoint to present the proposal to the school administration for their approval.  

We expect each of you to make our students needs your priority by contributing to your team and producing quality, finished products on time. Leeward Elementary  has worked hard to develop a reputation for excellence in education. We are currently one of the top elementary schools in Hawaii. We envison that with the purchase of these computers our students will be able to excel in reading scores both locally and nationally.  We also feel that the laptops will give the students the motivation to learn and succeed.

 As your advisory board consultant, I am here to direct you in successful use of these funds in purchasing the best software and hardware available for our 3rd grade students of this school

I strive to develop a productive, functional team. I have been a consultant to many  school advisory boards and have found several common characteristics in the advisory boards who succeed.

Succeeding  To maximize your chance for success, it is important that you understand how we work and your role on the board. A successful advisory board includes teamwork, tasks, and presenting results professionally.

We want the same kind of advisory members as other innovative schools around the country.  We want people who are adaptable, creative problem solvers and independent learners. Professionals who can work well with people and work successfully on teams. In a nutshell, we value people who are professional and know how to get projects done efficiently and effectively. the success or our school and our students ultimately rests on the decisions this board makes.

We hope your experiences over the next months will help you gain confidence in your abilities as a board member. To assist you, we compiled these suggestions from managers surveyed about what it takes to be successful:

1) Be proactive

You must schedule meetings with me when needed. The more you put into the process yourself, the more you'll get out of it. You are a professional, not a student , so don't expect me to tell you what to do. In general, you should come to me if you can't find the answer on your own.

2) Keep in Touch

You are responsible for checking your email regularly. Announcements and updates will be made by email and I will assume that you have read them.
We will be using a variety of available online tools (email, threaded discussions, Skype, Ning, Halawai, etc.). We will use these tools to share information, project schedules, agreements, resources, results, and updates with your team members and with me.

3) Manage your time

Time management is essential to your success on this challenging project. You should plan to spend 50% of your time for reading and research. See the Working with Task section of this Orientation for additional suggestions on time management and to learn the process I recommend for completing tasks and presenting your solutions to your colleagues.

4) Address performance issues in your team

Teamwork is essential to our success. Review the Working in Teams section of this Orientation to improve your team skills.

Since you won't initially know the full extent of your team's capabilities, negotiate the initial scope of work for each member carefully (i.e., what concrete pieces of the task s/he is responsible for).

If problems emerge, address them as soon as possible so that you can negotiate them within your team and complete your task on schedule. (This may be socially uncomfortable, but you've just got to do it.) If you still cannot resolve the issues, come to me and we can discuss it.

On behalf of Leeward Elementary School, welcome and we look forward to having you succeed and

help direct our school so we can prepare our children to be the leaders in the 21st century.