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How We Govern

Policy Governance Model

The Boston College High School Board of Trustees operates on a Policy Governance Model. This model is mission-driven and, in the case of Boston College High School, the Board is guided by BC High’s Jesuit Catholic mission. The Board’s role in this model is one of stewardship on behalf of all of its communities. In addition to mission, the Board focuses on vision, values and strategic priorities of the school.

In this framework, there is a clear delineation between the governance role of the Board and the management role of the President and staff. The Board empowers the President and staff to carry out the mission within established parameters. The President provides day-to-day operational leadership and manages the organization. The Board also monitors and evaluates the President’s performance.

The Board articulates policies in four (4) areas:

  • a focus on outcomes
  • setting parameters for the President
  • delegating power to the President
  • Attending to its own Board policies and structures

The Policy Governance model has been widely adopted by secondary schools and colleges throughout the country. The BC High Board of Trustees is committed to this model and to maintaining a clear delineation between governance and management.

Governance Update

BC High undertook a comprehensive review of its Governance, By-Laws and current Board of Trustee (BOT) policies and practices. It was a robust process that utilized outside advisors and experts. The year-long exercise ensured that all of our procedures and processes were operating as intended and appropriate for current standards. The Governance Review spanned the last fiscal year, involved three subcommittees of the BOT and was discussed by the full BOT at each of its meetings throughout the past fiscal year. While much of our current governance was validated, the improvements are substantive and relate to BOT formation, operating protocols, and stakeholder engagement.

Questions and Answers

  • What were the three working groups’ mandates and what topics did they address?

    Working Group 1 addressed BOT selection and on-boarding. Specifically, the issues related to the composition, structure, and recruitment of an engaged, robust, talented, and diverse BOT. Also, this group discussed ways to maintain positive and active relationships with BOT members who have completed their service.

    Working Group 2 addressed Internal BOT Relations and Workings. Specifically discussed were the roles and responsibilities that come with BOT membership.

    Working Group 3 addressed External Relations within and outside the School. Specifically, this group looked at how the Trustees’ work with stakeholder groups both within the school community and externally.

  • What changes did Working Group 1 (Board Composition, Structure and Recruitment) make?

    The main changes were:

    • Maximum Board size of 18
    • Robust on-boarding and expectation orientation, including mission
    • Introducing Term limits
    • Efforts to help encourage diversity
    • Trustee Emeritus process redefined
    • Role and Expectations of Trustee clarified
  • What changes did Working Group 2 (Internal Board Working and Relations) make?

    Changed the by-laws, policies, or practice:

    Amended By-Laws:

    • Conflict of Interest definition
    • Amended the Conflict of Interest Policy.
    • Notice Requirements for Meetings and Procedure

    Established and/or clarified BOT policy and practices for:

    • Confidentiality
    • Expectations for conduct consistent with BC High culture
    • Trustee Assessments
  • What changes did Working Group 3 (Committee Structures and External Relations) make?

    Changed the by-laws, policies, or practice:

    • Established fewer BOT committees:
      • Executive Committee
      • Governance Committee
      • Finance Committee
      • Mission and Identity Committee
      • Educational/Academic Excellence Committee
    • Established and/or clarified BOT policy and practices for:
      • Advisory groups
      • Stakeholder groups
      • Committee Chair job descriptions
      • Committee duties and responsibilities
  • What recommendations were made that were not accepted?

    All substantive recommendations were accepted and/or concurred.

  • What changes were made that were not supported or recommended by the advisors?

    Any substantive changes were supported and agreed upon.

  • Were these changes unanimously agreed on by all Trustees?

    In almost all cases the changes were unanimously agreed upon, and all of the substantive ones were approved by a formal vote of the Board of Trustees.

  • When will you add to the current BOT, and will the current BOT be held to the new policies updated By-laws?

    We are working on a transition plan now that will stagger the terms of existing Trustees and new Trustees. Yes, the current Board members will be held to the revised policies and updated By-Laws.

  • What about diversity on the current Board?

    The BOT is mission-driven, and diversity is a key tenet of BC High’s mission. The Governance Committee is committed to increasing BOT diversity at all levels and backgrounds as we move forward.