The relationship between board of directors practices and Jewish day school financial and educational performance based on research among Jewish day school board presidents
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Jewish day schools are a vitally important component of Jewish life in the United States and governing boards serve a critically important role in ensuring the strategic direction economic stability and quality of day school leadership and programs. Yet, there has been a lack of original research focused on the state of day school governance and on the relationship between governance and day school financial and educational wellbeing. This dissertation describes a research study conducted in the spring and summer of 2009 with support from the Yeshiva University, RAVSAK, Solomon Schechter and PARDeS day school networks among approximately 100 Jewish day school board presidents representing a demographically diverse set of day schools. In this Internet delivered survey, school presidents provided information about their satisfaction with the extent to which their schools were adhering to governance practices recommended by nonprofit and independent school expert practitioners as well as about school demographics, finances, and educational practices. The research indicated strong correlations between schools' adherence to good governance practices and their financial health and adherence to positive educational practices. Additionally, the research indicated governance areas where day school presidents felt their schools were struggling to improve their performance. Taken as a totality, the research provides a roadmap for the improvement of Jewish day school governance beginning with a foundation of strategic and long range financial planning, followed by the establishment of strong committee and meeting practices, and then reinforced by formal board education, role clarification, and performance assessment.
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