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Annual Board Development Tool

A joint initiative by the WASB and School Perceptions

Use the Annual Board Development Tool to answer three key questions:

  • Are your school board’s planning priorities aligned?
  • What data is needed to help establish our board’s annual goals?
  • Are your new school board members knowledgeable about their roles and responsibilities?

School Perceptions provides access to this tool for all Wisconsin school districts at no cost.

What is the Annual Board Development Tool, and why should I use it?

The Annual Board Development Tool, a survey taken by each member of a school board, was developed through a partnership between School Perceptions and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

 Items in the Tool are organized into nine sections.

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making
  2. Board Operations
  3. Culture
  4. Planning
  5. Budgeting
  6. District Operations
  7. Community Engagement
  8. Policy
  9. Vision

Items in each section are measured against the following response scale:

  • Fully Achieved: This is an area of notable strength that could serve as a model for other districts.
  • Mostly Achieved: Performance is acceptable, but future improvements might be considered over the coming years.
  • Partially Achieved: Performance needs improvement this year.
  • Not Achieved or Started: This is an area where immediate improvements should be considered.
  • Not Sure: This is an area where I have neither observed nor have knowledge of our District’s practices.
Who should take it?

The Annual Board Development Tool should be taken by each member of your school board or governance team. The superintendent/district administrator often participates in the process and analysis but does not typically take the survey.

How do board members take the survey?

A special survey participation link is shared with your board president and at the beginning of each school year. This link is unique to your school district. If you misplaced your link, contact Ben Niehaus (WASB’s Director of Member Services) at 608-512-1706 or

How do I see results and check if everyone participated?

Results access instructions and password were shared with your superintendent and board president via email and mail. Navigate to the Client Dashboard and enter your username and password. From here, you’ll be able to access your results and see if all board members participated. If you misplaced your username and/or password, contact Ben Niehaus (WASB’s Director of Member Services) at 608-512-1706 or

When is the best time of year to use this survey?

Fortunately, there is no “bad” time to use the Annual Board Development Tool. Many districts choose to implement the survey during a summer or winter planning retreat. If it is an election year, some districts will implement the survey as part of the onboarding process for new school board members.

How do I analyze my results and get additional support?

Once your school district completes the survey, School Perceptions will provide a report for $250. Upon request, WASB will provide complimentary analysis of the report with recommendations that will help you establish logical next steps.

If you would like a WASB governance consultant to support your board — whether through an on-site visit or a virtual consultation — please see our Governance Consulting Services.

What’s included in the report?

The report provides a comparison analysis of each item to state averages. If your school district used the survey in the past, the report will also provide longitudinal analyses to quantify growth relative to previous years. Indexes are also calculated to provide educational leaders with an overall snapshot of the results. Key questions within the tool are used to build each index score. The indexes include the following:

Vision: Effective school boards establish a clear vision with high expectations for quality teaching and learning that supports strong student outcomes. They establish clear and specific goals to move districts forward.

Accountability: High academic standards, transparency, and accountability undergird a world-class education. True accountability depends on open decision-making, community engagement, support, and receptivity to new ideas and constructive criticism.

Policy: Policy is how a board sustainably exercises power to serve students. Through policy, school boards establish a set of cohesive guidelines able to transform vision into reality.

Community Leadership: Through public advocacy and community engagement, school boards share their concerns and actions with the public. Community leadership that builds public support is vital to implement the board’s vision.

Relationships: Both the school board and the superintendent have essential leadership roles that are interconnected but different. Effective school boards lead as a united team with the superintendent, each in their respective roles with strong collaboration and mutual trust.

Experience: Education requires the provision of personalized resources needed for all students to reach common goals. In other words, the goals and expectations are the same for all students, but the support needed to achieve those goals depends on the students’ needs.

Are there other resources to learn about the survey?

Two great resources to learn more about the Annual Board Development Tool include this WASB podcast and Wisconsin School News article.

Need help?

To receive additional help or ask other questions not covered here, contact Ben Niehaus (WASB’s Director of Member Services) at 608-512-1706 or Rob DeMeuse (School Perceptions Research Director) at 262-299-7159 or

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All seven members of the Green Bay Area School Board responded to the 2015-16 Annual Board Development Tool, and we used the results summary to guide discussion on our roles and responsibilities during a board retreat.  It was a great tool.  I would recommend this process to other boards as well.

Mike Blecha

Former Green Bay Area School Board Member and WASB Past President

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