Articles in the School Boards category

More members of the House of Representatives join growing co-sponsor list for NSBA bill

Fourteen lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives have joined the 24 existing co-sponsors on the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act (H.R. 1386), since Feb. 2014. The bi-partisan bill recognizes the benefits of local school district governance and ensures that maximum local flexibility and decision-making are not eroded through U.S. Department of Education (ED) actions.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) attributes this wave of legislative support to the dedicated work of the hundreds of school board members and state school boards association leaders who attended NSBA’s new Advocacy Institute, held Feb. 2-4, 2014 in Washington. In addition to building year-round advocates for public education and local school governance, the institute arranged Capitol Hill visits for attendees to speak with their members of Congress about protecting local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion.

Thirty-eight Congressional co-sponsors have now signed on to the bill. Introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-lll.) on March 21, 2013, this legislation had as original co-sponsors Reps. Schock, Rodney Davis (R-Iowa), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.).

H.R. 1386 would ensure that ED’s actions are consistent with the specific intent of federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. This would also establish several procedural steps that ED would need to take prior to initiating regulations, rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials. The legislation is also supported by the AASA, the School Superintendent Association.

“In recent years local school board members and educators have become increasingly concerned that the local governance of our nation’s school districts is being unnecessarily eroded through over reaching federal policies and requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “Public education decisions made at the federal level must support the needs and goals of local school districts and the communities they serve. The Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities to our nation’s more than 13,500 school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and input from the local level.”

School board members are encouraged to contact their House members to become co-sponsors. Increased focus is now being directed to urge senators to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. School board members also are encouraged to contact their senators and urge them to sponsor similar legislation.

Staff|March 11th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , |

NSBA webinar to showcase successful case studies for community-school partnerships

Join school board members Eve Bolton from Cincinnati, Ohio and Jody London from Oakland, Calif. as they discuss the important role of school board members in promoting the community school strategy, and the successful outcomes they are seeing in their districts through support of this strategy.

Participate in this webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 11. Reserve your webinar seat now.

Aaron Dorsey, Manager of Equity and Achievement Programs at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Mary Kingston Roche, Public Policy Manager at Coalition for Community Schools will be on hand to answer questions and provide specific steps on implementing community school strategy for success in your district.

Staff|March 10th, 2014|Categories: Board governance, Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , |

School districts in Louisiana, New York, and Washington earn grand prize honors in 2014 Magna Awards

2014 Magna Awards

2014 Magna Awards were announced on March 5, 2014

St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Luling, La., Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Medina, N.Y., and Kent School District in Kent, Wash., have been named the grand prize winners in the 20th annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) American School Board Journal (ASBJ). The Magna Awards recognize school boards for taking bold and innovative steps to advance public education.

The Magna Awards, supported by Sodexo, honors districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from nearly 250 submissions.

“The Magna Awards showcase outstanding models for local school board leadership and school district success to advance student achievement,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of NSBA. “We commend Sodexo for their continuing support of the Magna Awards to highlight the great achievements happening in public education.”

This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo during a special presentation at NSBA Annual Conference, to be held April 5-7 in New Orleans.

“Just like the school districts recognized in the annual Magna Awards program, Sodexo supports student achievement,” said Steve Dunmore, President of Sodexo Education-Schools. “As a partner in education and a company committed to improving the quality of life for students, Sodexo realizes that it is vitally important to call attention to and support school districts that go above and beyond to enrich the learning environment for its students. Therefore, we are proud to sponsor the Magna Awards again this year.”

Details on the 2014 grand prizes winning programs:

• The Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services, in Medina, N.Y., earned the grand prize in the under 5,000 enrollment category for its Literacy Zone/Men’s Cooking Class. The program helped the board meet its goal of being the premier provider of innovative solutions for its component school districts and their communities. At a monthly luncheon of the Men’s Cooking Class, the adult students—many of whom were military veterans—decided to help veterans through the class’s cooking and by raising community awareness of veterans’ needs. The class was part of the area’s Literacy Zone, which provides adult education and is run by the Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The class’s culminating event for veterans may have taken place on one day—July 5, 2013—but their efforts continue to accrue benefits for all involved.

St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Luling, La., is being honored as the grand prize winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category for its Arts Awareness Festival, which drew inspiration from the fabled New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The one-day festival, now in its fifth year, showcases the district’s theater, music, dance, and visual arts. Like the Jazz Festival, it features multiple stages with performances going on simultaneously. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade participate in the festival. The event raises awareness and builds support among parents and community member for the district’s arts programs. The school board views it as a vital way to connect schools and community.

• In the over 20,000 enrollment category, the Kent School District in Kent, Wash., is the grand prize winner for its iGrad—Individualized Graduation and Degree Program. A partnership between Kent and Green River Community College, the program helps 16- to 21-year-olds earn high school diplomas, GEDs, college credits, or professional certification. Located in a shopping center, iGrad offers students a flexible schedule—students can attend in three-hour blocks in the morning, afternoon, or evening—and individualized learning plans. This program is the result of the school board’s goal of high achievement for all students. The Kent School District has also received Honorable Mention in this year’s Magna Awards for another of its programs, Kinder to College.

The 2014 winners are highlighted in a special section in the April issue of ASBJ and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 5, at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s 74th Annual Conference.

In addition to the ASBJ special section, the districts’ winning entries will be posted on the Magna Awards website and added to the program’s searchable best practices database. Both can be found at www.asbj.com/magna.

2014 Magna Award Winners:

Grand prize winners:
Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Medina, N.Y. – less than 5,000 students
St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Luling, La. – 5,000 to 20,000 students
Kent School District, Kent, Wash. – more than 20,000 students

First place winners – under 5,000 students:
Indian Creek CUSD #425, Shabbona, Ill.
Leyden Community High School District #212, Franklin Park, Ill.
Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, Maplewood, Mo.
Murphy School District No. 21, Phoenix, Ariz.
White Pine County School District, Ely, Nev.

First place winners – 5,000 to 20,000 students:
Carmel Clay Schools, Carmel, Ind.
Kannapolis City Schools, Kannapolis, N.C.
Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, Nashville, N.C.
Piscataway School District, Piscataway, N.J.
Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, Kan.

First place winners – over 20,000 students:
Lexington County School District One, Lexington, S.C.
St. Tammany Parish Public School System, Covington, La.
Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, Va.
Yonkers Public Schools, Yonkers,, N.Y.

Honorable mentions – under 5,000 students:
East Irondequoit Central School District, Rochester, N.Y.
Elk Mound Area School District, Elk Mound, Wis.
Middlesex County Public Schools, Saluda, Va.
Phoenix-Talent Schools, Phoenix, Ore.
Seaman Unified School District #345, Topeka, Kan.

Honorable mentions – 5,000 to 20,000 students:
Caesar Rodney School District, Wyoming, Del.
Danville Public Schools, Danville, Va.
Frederick County Public Schools, Winchester, Va.
Harrisonburg City School, Harrisonburg, Va.
Michigan City Area Schools, Michigan City, Ind.

Honorable mentions – over 20,000 students:
Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Va.
Horry County Schools, Conway, S.C.
Kent School District, Kent, Wash.
Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, Va.
Spotsylvania County Public Schools, Fredericksburg, Va.

Alexis Rice|March 5th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Student Achievement, Student Engagement|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Director Steve McQueen wears NSBA wristband at Oscars

It wasn’t designed by Fred Leighton and couldn’t be measured by carats, but it carried an important message.

Director Steve McQueen (L) and actor/producer Brad Pitt accept the Best Picture award for '12 Years a Slave' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Director Steve McQueen (L) and actor/producer Brad Pitt accept the Best Picture award for ’12 Years a Slave’ onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Steve McQueen, Director of “12 Years a Slave,” wore the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) red wristband for its “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign as he accepted the Oscar for the Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards.

NSBA’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools“ campaign centers on creating strong public schools, governed by school boards, to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn 21st century skills and are prepared for higher education and the workplace.

NSBA also is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to distribute “12 Years a Slave” to public high schools. The initiative is coordinated by Montel Williams,  who is a celebrity spokesperson for the “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign. NSBA will assist in distributing an edited version of the film, book, and study guide to “12 Years a Slave” nationwide in September 2014. This version will be appropriate for high school classrooms and each school district can decide whether and how to utilize the resources.

In announcing the partnership to distribute the film, McQueen said, “Since first reading ’12 Years a Slave,’ it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation.”

“We are honored that Steve McQueen shared our wristband with the world at the Academy Awards in support of strong public schools,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The red wristband sends a powerful message about the importance of standing up for America’s public schools to help every child achieve world-class standards and a brighter future.”

NSBA President David A. Pickler with Steve McQueen at the 2014 Oscars

NSBA President David A. Pickler with Steve McQueen at the 2014 Oscars

NSBA President David A. Pickler attended the Academy Awards and met McQueen on the red carpet before the event. Pickler gave McQueen the wristband to wish him luck and as a sign of support for the partnership and the film. During the ceremony, Pickler tweeted, “Just met Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave. Shared a hug in celebration of the @NSBAComm partnership.”

Show your support for public education and get a wristband at www.standup4publicschools.org.

Joetta Sack-Min|March 3rd, 2014|Categories: School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

NSBA’s President discusses school board advocacy on Education Talk Radio

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler, President of the National School Boards Association and member of Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education, was a guest on Education Talk Radio earlier this week. Pickler discussed school board advocacy and his experiences from traveling across the country meeting school board leaders.

Listen to the interview:

Popular Education Internet Radio with EduTalk on BlogTalkRadio
Alexis Rice|February 26th, 2014|Categories: Leadership, Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA partners with filmmakers to distribute “12 Years a Slave” to public high schools

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to distribute copies of the acclaimed film, book, and study guide 12 Years a Slave to America’s public high schools.

The initiative, coordinated by Montel Williams,  will start to distribute 12 Years a Slave nationwide in September 2014 in concert with the new school year. It is modeled against an initiative Williams launched to distribute the Civil War film Glory to public high schools that ultimately led to The Montel Williams Show.

12 Years a Slave is one of the most impactful films in recent memory, and I am honored to have been able to bring together Fox Searchlight and National School Boards Association to maximize its educational potential. When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future, and I’m proud to be a part of that,” said Williams.

“Since first reading ’12 Years a Slave,’ it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation,” said Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave.

12 Years a Slave is an award-winning film that depicts the harrowing tale of a New York State-born free black man kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery. This groundbreaking film won this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture, the PGA Award for Best Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Film and is nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year.

“The National School Boards Association is honored to partner with Fox Searchlight Pictures and Penguin Books to ensure that every public high school student in America has the opportunity to stare the stark realities of slavery in the eye through books and film,” said NSBA President David A. Pickler. “We believe that providing America’s public high school students the opportunity to bear witness to such an unrelenting view of the evils of slavery is essential toward ensuring that this history is never forgotten and must never be repeated.”

Williams also has joined NSBA as a celebrity spokesperson in its Stand Up 4 Public Schools campaign that showcases the great things happening in America’s public schools.

“We appreciate the strong initiative by the producers of ‘12 Years a Slave’ and Montel Williams to bring this vividly accurate, award-winning documentary to America’s public high schools,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Allowing students to see the tragic circumstances and messages conveyed through these works are vital to learning and reflection on our nation’s era of slavery.”

Joetta Sack-Min|February 21st, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Student Achievement, Student Engagement|Tags: , , , , , , , |

NSBA representatives on selection committees for superintendents’ awards

Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has been named National Superintendent of the Year by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, at the group’s National Conference on Education in Nashville.

This is the 27th year of AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year program. The award celebrates the leadership of public school superintendents and their contributions to K-12 education.

“Superintendent Carvalho leads a dynamic urban school district that has made remarkable gains in student achievement and graduation rates,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel, a member of a national blue-ribbon panel of educators, business leaders, and government officials that selected Carvalho from four national finalists. “Under his leadership, Miami-Dade has streamlined its business operations, strengthened its financial position, and targeted its resources to classroom priorities.”

A nationally recognized expert on school reform and finance, Carvalho, 49, has taken on issues such as education funding, flexibility in the use of school dollars, school performance grades, and equality for English Language Learners, special education students, and children of undocumented parents.

Under Carvalho’s leadership, Miami-Dade won the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The district is a member of NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education and was featured in a 2013 NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network site visit that highlighted its success in providing equitable access to high quality digital content for all students.

“As the winner of the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education, Miami-Dade Schools is a model district that resembles a high-quality learning environment for America’s fourth-largest school system,” said AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech. “It will be an honor to have Superintendent Carvalho serving as our nation’s ambassador for public education this year.”

The son of a custodian and a seamstress who each left school after the third grade, Carvalho was the first in his family to graduate from high school, according to an AASA profile. He then worked to save $1,000 to travel as a teenager to the United States, where he hoped to find better educational and professional opportunities.

Carvalho, who has been the district’s superintendent for more than five years, has spent his entire educational career at Miami-Dade, serving in a variety of positions, including science
teacher, assistant principal, chief communications officer, and lobbyist.
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AASA also announced at its conference the honorees of the 2014 AASA Women in School Leadership Award, Karen C. Woodward, superintendent, Lexington County, School District One in Lexington, S.C., and Linda Carrillo, principal, PSJA North High School in Pharr, Texas, were honored. Kathleen Vail, Editor-in-Chief of NSBA’s American School Board Journal, was on the selection committee for this award.

Alexis Rice|February 19th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, School Boards|Tags: |

2014 NSBA Annual Conference to focus on transformative leadership

Ac14Logo_lgThousands of school board members, administrators, and educators will convene in New Orleans to take part in the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 74th Annual Conference, April 5-7, 2014.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Transforming Leadership,” and will focus on inspiring and equipping school leaders to become agents of change in their districts toward creating more dynamic and empowering public schools across the country.

More than 250 programming sessions will be featured highlighting timely education topics, including: school governance and executive leadership; innovations in district management; legal and legislative advocacy; professional and personal development; school board/superintendent partnerships; student achievement and accountability; and how technology is transforming schools and learning. Special programming will focus on providing essential skills and insights to new board members.

“The 2014 NSBA Annual Conference fosters growth to help school  leaders move education forward for America’s schoolchildren,“ said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “School leaders can then take back to their communities the leadership and education strategies they learned to improve school district management and advance student success.”

Keynote speakers at the General Sessions will include:

  • Thomas L. Friedman, best-selling author of The World is Flat” and three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times,
  • Sir Ken Robinson, one of the world’s leading experts on creativity, education and the arts, and
  • Simon T. Bailey, leadership catalyst and author of several books on personal growth and organizational excellence, including, Release Your Brilliance: The 4 Steps to Transforming Your Life and Revealing Your Genius to the World.

Expanded education technology programming will include site visits to the National World War II Museum, St. Charles Parish Public Schools,  Southeastern Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, and the Holy Cross Project Visitor Center. The meeting also includes the “NSBA Campus,” one of the largest K-12 educational expositions in the nation. More than 260 companies will showcase their innovative products and services for school districts at the 40,000 square-foot conference exhibit hall, which will be transformed to create a “back-to-school” experience.

Alexis Rice|February 13th, 2014|Categories: NSBA Annual Conference 2014, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA video: School board members encouraged to join “army of advocates” for public education

Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and David A. Pickler, NSBA’s 2013-14 President, urge school board members to join NSBA’s “Army of Advocates” and fight for public education. Gentzel asks school boards to stand up to “those who abandon student achievement and sell off public schools and end local school board governance for their own profit,” and details some of NSBA’s new advocacy initiatives.

View the video:

Alexis Rice|February 5th, 2014|Categories: Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

Following State of the Union, NSBA calls for prioritization of public education issues

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued the following statement following the 2014 State of the Union:

The National School Boards Association, working with our state school board associations and the 90,000 school board members across the country, looks forward to engaging with President Barack Obama and his administration on the education priorities raised in the State of the Union. We welcome the President’s proposals on early childhood education and high-speed Internet access for schools and we ask that the President work closely with local school boards as these initiatives are developed.

We share the President’s commitment to guaranteeing that every child has access to a world-class education and NSBA believes every community should have great public schools.

Public education must be a priority for the administration and the U.S. Congress. We are deeply concerned about maximizing federal investments in K-12 education. A lack of federal funding in tandem with cuts in state and local funding is jeopardizing local school district operations. This is having a devastating effect on our students by imperiling programs that directly impact student learning, including many programs that close achievement gaps; raise graduation rates; and improve teacher training, recruitment, and retention.

The U.S. Senate must take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act. School board members from across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation given that the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of ESEA reauthorization last year. America’s school boards can’t continue to operate under a failed ‘No Child Left Behind’ system. Local school boards need the flexibility to create and implement innovative approaches to improve academic performance to prepare all students for post-secondary education or the workplace and ensure that the U.S. Department of Education does not encroach on community schools.

Alexis Rice|January 28th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, No Child Left Behind, School Boards|Tags: , |
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