Articles in the American School Board Journal category

Nov. ASBJ explores the role of civics education, social media in creating engaged electorate

The presidential election has dominated the campaign season, but local leaders know it’s not the only thing of importance on the ballot. Along with bond referendums to fund capital projects, school board candidates will be vying for open seats— and many will be employing social media to help them do it, as you’ll learn in November’s issue of the American School Board Journal.  

In “Campaigning with Social Media,” Senior Editor Naomi Dillon explores the role Web 2.0 tools like Twitter and Facebook have increasingly played in school board elections. 

It’s a companion piece to Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy’s article on civics education, which many say is essential to getting the next generation to understand the importance of engaging in civic life in the first place.

And on that note, don’t forget to exercise your right and vote on Election Day.

Naomi Dillon|November 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |

What would you do if parents wanted creationism taught in science class?

In the November edition of the American School Board Journal, the Adviser Poll poses this scenario to our readers:

A group of parents and others who attend a large church in the school district began regularly attending board meetings to lobby for the teaching of creationism in the science curriculum. Administrators strongly objected.

The board wanted to be respectful of cultural and religious beliefs in the community, but also felt it was their responsibility to provide a strong foundation in science to the students. What should they do?

Vote and tell us what you think on ASBJ‘s Facebook page.

Naomi Dillon|November 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Curriculum, Religion|Tags: , |

Nominate your district for a Magna Award – deadline extended to Nov. 9

The Magna Awards 2013 program is extending its deadline for nominations to November 9 because of the widespread power outages in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and eastern portion of the Midwest following the recent storms in those regions.

The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by the American School Board Journal, NSBA, and Sodexo School Services that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. Three grand prize winners each receive a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo.

Learn more about the Magna Awards and nominate your program.


Joetta Sack-Min|November 1st, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Announcements, NSBA Publications, NSBA Recognition Programs|Tags: |

Magna Awards featured on Education Talk Radio

If you’re planning to nominate one of your school district’s programs for American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) Magna Awards, be sure to listen to Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Member Mark Brentley talk about his district’s experiences as a Magna Awards grand prize winner. He joined by ASBJ Publisher Glenn Cook and Sodexo’s National Wellness Director Roxanne Moore on Education Talk Radio.

Pittsburgh Public Schools, was a 2012 Magna Awards grand prize winner in the more than 20,000 enrollment category for their “Take a Father to School Day” outreach program aimed at increasing the participation of fathers and other male role models in their schools.

Listen to Education Talk Radio on Blog Talk Radio

The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by ASBJ,  National School Boards Association, and Sodexo School Services that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. Magna nominations are judged according to three enrollment categories (under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment). One Grand Prize Winner in each category receives a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo School Services. There are five additional winners and five honorable mention winners within each enrollment category.

Learn more about the Magna Awards and nominate your program on ASBJ’s website. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2012 for nominations for the 2013 Magna Awards.

Alexis Rice|October 12th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Board governance, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , , , , |

Linking schools and businesses: An ASBJ webinar

School and business partnerships can be tricky. Hear how one school district has navigated the challenges of these partnerships in an upcoming webinar presented by the editors of American School Board Journal. It will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT. Register here.

Virginia’s Newport News Public Schools has developed a Career Pathways initiative to create “college, career, and citizen-ready” students. These school-business partnerships have garnered widespread community support and convinced a growing number of business and community groups to invest human and financial resources to help create a better-educated and better-trained workforce.

The free webinar will feature Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Ashby Kilgore, along with other key players of the initiative, explaining how school leaders can use partnerships to transform the educational experiences for students while providing a payoff for the business community. And be sure to read the recent ASBJ article on creating school-business partnerships.

Kathleen Vail|October 12th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, School Boards|Tags: , , |

October issue of ASBJ highlights the importance of building bonds

Perhaps only in Hollywood, does the phrase “If you build it they will come,” make sense. In contrast, school districts, must convince taxpayers to come along and help fund capital improvement projects before ever breaking ground.

It’s a tall order and an increasingly difficult one for districts in today’s political and economic climate. But a series of articles in October’s ASBJ illustrates how savvy school districts can improve their success rate, before, during and after launching a bond referendum campaign. 

Speaking of campaign, this month’s edition also features a special section on the 113th U.S. Congress and the issues these two chambers will face.

This probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6!

Naomi Dillon|October 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , |

What would you do if your community was reluctant to pass a bond issue?

October’s ASBJ Adviser Poll asks readers to weigh in on this scenario:

A school district badly needed to repair and rebuild several school buildings, but the community kept voting down the bond measures. The school board had always been fiscally responsible and frugal— so frugal voters were not accustomed to being asked approve a tax hike. In the midst of yet another bond issue campaign, what should the board do?

Tell us what you think and cast your vote on our Facebook page.

Naomi Dillon|October 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Hope and hardship in Maplewood, Mo. — in the 1930s and today

Editor’s note: The following piece was sent to NSBA staff by Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy, whose mother passed away on Sept. 12. A native Missourian, she was a graduate of Maplewood High School, near St. Louis.

My mother, Eleanor Collins Hardy, was born in 1916 in Kansas City but spent most of her early life in St. Louis. Her father, a civil engineer, died of tuberculosis when she was 3, and as a result, my grandmother had to struggle to support her and her older brother. Not able to afford their own place, they lived with my great grandmother and other relatives in what must have been a crowded apartment over a drug store in Maplewood, a close-in, working class suburb of St. Louis. My grandmother worked at the drug store with the pharmacist, another relative.   

While others certainly had it worse during the Great Depression — witness the homeless families living in “Hoovervilles,” the makeshift campsites that sprung up downtown along the Mississippi River — my Mom had to forgo a lot of material things. She loved music, but had to quit piano lessons when my grandmother could no longer afford them. When walking to school, she was instructed by my grandmother to walk on the grass, not on the sidewalk, so the soles of her shoes would last longer. When she graduated from high school in the early 1930s and my grandmother started talking about college, one indignant relative would respond: “Eleanor can’t go to college!” (presumably, because there was no money). And my grandmother, a wonderful, kind, and deeply religious woman, would say in a strong voice, “Eleanor’s going to college.”

She did go to college, too, earning an associate’s degree from William Woods College in Fulton, Mo.  In later years, my Mom would tire of my grandmother repeating that story, but its lesson meant so much to her — that with hard work and the support of others, they could find a way.

This summer, for a story on community Involvement for September’s ASBJ, I interviewed Linda Henke, the recently retired superintendent of the Maplewood Richmond-Heights (Mo.) School District. Maplewood, as you recall, was a Grand Prize Winner of this year’s Magna Awards for districts under 5,000 enrollment. They won for a most unusual initiative. Struck by the number of homeless boys in their small district – boys who tended to show up in Henke’s office after school (perhaps because of the crackers, peanut butter, and frozen dinners she kept there) – Henke and the school board decided not to wait for the city, or the state, or someone else to face the problem of homelessness in their community: they bought a house themselves, formed a coalition, and turned the house into a homeless shelter for teenage boys.

Henke, a truly buoyant personality, told me of how she was walking around Maplewood one day and saw the big yellow Victorian with the “For Sale” sign in front.

“I thought, ‘Wow,’ she recalled. “That must be the house we’re supposed to buy.’”

It was an audacious move that took courage, hard work, and quite a bit of faith. As of this summer, of the 14 boys enrolled in the program 13 have graduated or are on the graduation track. College, once out of the question, is no longer a fantasy.

I told Henke I that had a connection to St. Louis, to her still-working class town, and to the castle-like fortress, not far from her office, that is Maplewood High School.

“I grew up in St. Louis,” I said, “and my Mom graduated from Maplewood High.”

Lawrence Hardy|September 27th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Dropout Prevention, Homeless People|Tags: , , , |

September ASBJ examines role of partnerships in education

September’s edition of the American School Board Journal is devoted to the increasing importance strong partnerships with key stakeholders have on the success of public education.

Senior Editor Del Stover’s piece asks and answers several questions about the the quest to get more parents involved, most importantly: what does parent involvement even mean, what it looks like and how to manage it.

Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy’s feature contends that meeting the needs of families first, is a surefire way to engage the community.

And finally Senior Editor Naomi Dillon explores the connections schools are making with businesses, who not provide financial support but a direct pathway for students to successful careers and jobs.

Naomi Dillon|September 5th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

What would you do if: You were asked to drop a longtime vendor?

For years, ABC School District has provided parents with the option of buying their children’s school supplies from one vendor and having it delivered to them in a box at the beginning of the school year.

Lately, some parents have complained about the substandard quality of the supplies and urged the district to switch vendors. But dropping their current supplier might mean losing out on cost savings the district and parents enjoyed through bulk purchasing.

What should the board do? Let us know what you think by voting on our Facebook page.

Naomi Dillon|September 4th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Board governance|Tags: , |
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