How to talk with Prairie Creek's school board
For parents and those with an interest in Prairie Creek's governance, there are a number of ways for you to stay in touch with our school board:
- You can attend open meetings at school on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at school.
- You can read agendas before each board meeting
- You can read minutes from these board meetings
- You can talk directly with board members—simply arrange a mutually convenient time to converse.
By any means, Prairie Creek's board welcome your conversation!
What the school board does
The ultimate responsibility for the well-being of Prairie Creek rests with our active, passionate school board.
The board's obligations fall in several areas:
- Overseeing Prairie Creek’s core mission and vision
- Setting strategic direction, particularly for our school’s financial stability
- Evaluating and supervising our director
The duties of Prairie Creek's director, Simon Tyler, fall into other areas:
- Complying with all of Prairie Creek’s contract provisions
- Establishing and evaluating our school’s policies and procedures
- Following charter school law and other applicable laws
- Partnering with parents, families, and our wider community
- Fulfilling the contract our school holds with its charter authorizer, the Northfield School District (including expectations about our students’ academic performance)
In accordance with Minnesota’s charter school laws, our school board has nine voting members—six parents of current students, two licensed teachers at our school, and one community member who shares an interest in and passion for Prairie Creek’s success. Each serves a three-year term. Our chief financial officer, Keith Johnson, and our director, Simon Tyler, serve as valuable ex-officio (non-voting) board members.
Prairie Creek’s staff and every student’s parents or legal guardians are eligible, and very encouraged, to take part in annual school board elections—by voting for members. This means that more than 300 people with an interest in our school’s success have a say each year in how we’re governed. We invite this kind of collaboration by sending out advance notices of coming elections (by law, at least 30 days), discussing the candidates’ qualifications, and by personally handing around and collecting ballots.
Our board delegates responsibility for Prairie Creek’s day-to-day operations to our director. In return, board members receive periodic reports from him regarding all aspects of these operations. Our board also conducts ongoing oversight of our director, including a formal yearly review.
The Minnesota Department of Education requires training for Prairie Creek’s school board members. During these intensive sessions they study school governance, roles and responsibilities, employment policies and practices, and financial management. Training begins within six months of being seated and ends before that year is out. If members don’t complete this training, they become ineligible to serve.
Charter school boards must also comply with what’s known as the Open Meeting Law. This applies to all public governmental bodies. Meeting agendas and minutes are always available to anyone who wants to read them, and are published here and circulated to all Prairie Creek families.
Responsibilities of the school board
As with those who govern other non-profit organizations, the Prairie Creek school board's responsibilities fall in broad ethical and legal areas:
Duty of care
Our members agree to attend required board meetings and strive to stay informed about the school’s activities in order to make informed, beneficial decisions.
Duty of loyalty
Our members act in good faith and with Prairie Creek’s best interests in mind. The school’s mission takes precedence above self-interest.
Duty of obedience
Our members act in accordance with the policies and bylaws of the school, as well as with state and federal laws, and in a manner to further Prairie Creek’s educational mission.