Robert’s Rules for School Board Directors

Next live Zoom workshop: Difficult Board Chair or Member
Thursday, May 23 at 10 am Pacific time

What we offer school board directors

Wow—these past few years have been tough on school boards, haven’t they? As you work to do your best for the kids, everyone with a variety of different opinions has awakened and has started showing up. Meetings have become understandably more emotional, and many attendees are experiencing formal meeting settings for the first time.

A full, vigorous conversation about the way forward for your school community, where everyone is heard is important—but chaos is not the answer.

We’re here to help.

Robert’s Rules of Order was written way back in 1876 to help bring order to chaos—so the environment found in many of today’s school board meetings is nothing new. In fact, it was so bad back in the 1800s that our friend, US Army officer Henry Martyn Robert came up with best practices to bring order to meetings so that stuff could actually get done.

But his book is hefty reference material—and pretty dry and boring. So here at Jurassic Parliament we have made it our mission to bring these important materials to life in a fun, interactive way.

Whether you’re new to serving on a school board or you have a long history of service, our materials on getting the most out of Robert’s Rules of Order will help you understand best practices such as:

  • How to manage public comments in a dignified, ordered way so that everyone is heard
  • Why the order of each meeting is important—and how to make sure everyone has the same understanding of meeting procedure
  • How to respectfully interrupt, and more

After you have understood and put Robert’s Rules into practice at your school board meetings, you will find that your meetings—while they still may be heated—will accomplish more and be more inclusive than they may have been in the past—and the work for the community will move forward.

Three learning paths

Intermediate path

You're not new to public service, but you could benefit from some refreshers and maybe some new tricks for your toolkit!

  1. [COURSE] Great School Board Meetings
  2. [BLOG] Rights and responsibilities of the member
  3. [BLOG] Four bad habits to avoid at council meetings
  4. [QUICK GUIDE] What are the 11 duties of the chair?
  5. [QUICK GUIDE] Essential Guidelines
  6. [QUICK GUIDE] Guidelines for Public Comment in Local Government Meetings

Advanced path

You’ve got Robert’s Rules working pretty well, but you’re finding that the outcomes of your meetings are still suboptimal. We suggest the following learning path to get you well on your way to expert status when it comes to getting the most out of your school board meetings.

  1. [COURSE] Get What You Want Using Motions
  2. [BLOG] The 12 stupidest meeting mistakes
  3. [BLOG] When public pressure is intense
  4. [QUICK GUIDE] Lost the vote? Don’t sabotage the council’s action
  5. [COURSE] Difficult Board Chair or Member
  6. [COURSE] Take Control of Your Meetings Using Robert’s Rules

Hi. I’m Ann Macfarlane.

I know the frustration of ineffective school board meetings. I can help you change your next meeting:

Master parliamentary procedures

Stop bullies who just want to argue

Get your voice heard

Solicit cooperation from other elected colleagues

I’ve worked as a diplomat for the U.S. Government. Through my work as a translator, I’ve helped hundreds of people communicate effectively across cultures.

Sixteen years of experience working with electoral bodies means I have answered 100s of actual on-the-job questions about Robert’s Rules. I can help you, too. I work with school boards, professional associations, unions, and anyone who wants better meetings.

I’m a Professional Registered Parliamentarian and I know how effective school boards work.

In fact, together with my partner, Andrew Estep, we wrote the book for local government: Mastering Council Meetings. There’s nothing like our book. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Ann Macfarlane is a trusted trainer for these organizations:

What a terrific day of training that was for our members! People were thrilled and surprised at how much they had learned! This morning everyone is still abuzz about the training. They are sharing at their tables what they learned and they are all speaking about how you gave them words to use.

Lon Garrison and Timi Tullis, Association of Alaska School Boards

I have been using the tips you taught at the workshop and have a board chair and vice chair who are eager to hear – and implement – what I learned. Your training is the best I have had in my nearly 18 years in this job. Thank you!

Julie Catala, former Executive Assistant, Corvallis OR School Board

What an amazingly fun way to learn what can be a dry and difficult subject! I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about boardroom procedures this way. I’m even inspired to try and read through “Robert’s Rules of Order” now!

Participant, Oregon School Boards Association workshop

Would you like greater clarity about the role of the board president?

Former Board President John Burton and Superintendent Sam Jarman of the Alpine School District, Utah, have written a powerful article that includes 5 promises a school board director should never make.

This helpful paper is based on real-life experience.

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