Articles in the School Boards category

School boards encourage Congress to make education a priority following federal government shutdown

With the agreement to reopen the federal government and avert a debt default, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

While there is now an agreement to fund the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014, the shutdown demonstrated a lack of leadership in the U.S. Congress and reflects a much larger and long-term problem on how the budget process is currently funding K-12 education programs.

Long term budget solutions are needed as Congress continues to pass budgets built on continuing resolutions with education programs funded at the same levels as the year before or cut because of sequestration. This process does not adequately fund the high-priority education programs that will impact student learning, and public schools across the U.S. deserve better from our leaders in Washington.

Future funding bills need to help sustain and continue public schools’ progress to improve student learning, increase graduation rates, and prepare all students for college and careers. It’s time for Congress to support their local schools districts and make education investments on behalf of America’s schoolchildren.

Additionally, now that the shutdown is over, the U.S. Senate needs to take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S. 1094. School board members across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation following the U.S. House of Representatives passing its version of ESEA reauthorization earlier this year.

Alexis Rice|October 16th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , |

NSBA leaders bring local school boards message to NBC’s Education Nation

National School Boards Association (NSBA) leaders participated in NBC’s Education Nation Summit this week, bringing NSBA’s message that local governance matters to a wide audience that included governors, foundations, business leaders, researchers and practitioners.

This year’s summit incorporated a student-centered “What it Takes” theme, with panel discussions on how to ensure all students are prepared for success in K-12, higher education, and careers. NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel and President David A. Pickler were among the more than 300 attendees invited to the event.

“Innovation was a persistent theme at Education Nation,” said Gentzel. “Some of the best presenters were young people who, in demonstrating their creativity, also served as great testimonials for the public education system that provided the training and opportunities for them to explore and develop exciting new ideas.”

Gentzel added that another significant theme that public schools are accomplishing great things but the expectations and needs are growing. However, he added, there needs to be more emphasis on the local leadership to make these achievements possible.

During an Oct. 8 panel featuring governors, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky answered a question posed by Pickler, noting the role of local school boards in school improvement. Beshear also stated that charter schools should be authorized by local school boards, which can determine if those schools are needed.

Pickler also lauded the event’s emphasis on early learning and pre-K. In particular, he praised Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s response to a question from NBC’s Matt Lauer on what would be the single most important game changer to address America’s educational challenges. Duncan stated that the ultimate change should be on delivering a world class early childhood education, Pickler noted.

The three day Education Nation event took place October 6-8 at the New York City public library.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|October 9th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Conferences and Events, Governance, School Board News, School Boards, School Reform|Tags: , , , , |

School leaders: Tell your story and ‘saddle up’

We have a story to tell, Reginald Felton, assistant executive director for Congressional Relations for NSBA, told urban school board members gathered this week to attend NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting ends Saturday.

Felton, a keynote speaker on Friday, urged board members to tell their story of public school success. “We are in crisis,” he said. “We are under more attack than in the past. Every bad example that can be publicized is publicized. Communities would rather believe our urban schools provide no opportunities for advancement, but we know that’s not true. We have a story to tell. We can’t back off telling that story if we want to get out of crisis.”

He discussed the importance of school board members getting involved in the political process – including advocating for public education to their state and federal representatives. This is crucial now when federal government “believes that it can tell us at every level what needs to be done to succeed. We say, you can establish the ultimate goal, but you’ve got to let us work for our kids,” he said. “We need to have the flexibility but we need to tell our story. Some in Washington believe we don’t have a story to tell. Except for the one on the 6 o’clock news.”

Felton told the audience: Having a strong relationship with members of Congress promotes value of public education and enhances member accountability.

CUBE Steering Committee Chair Minnie Forte-Brown also spoke at the conference on Friday. She talked about the temptation as a board member to “get tired” – feel exhaustion in the face of what seems like insurmountable obstacles, especially the societal difficulties that many students face.

It’s this temptation to give up on the system, she said, that drives parents and communities to try charter schools or support vouchers.

However, she said, board members must fight this temptation. “On this day, these decisions that damage our schools will not tempt me to be tired. We will be fired up and take this back, energized and ready to fight,” she said.

Forte-Brown, a member of North Carolina’s Durham School Board, closed by encouraging her fellow board members. “Nobody said it was going to easy. School board leadership is not for sissies,” she said. “You have been chosen. I want you to saddle up and let’s go.”

 

Kathleen Vail|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Conferences and Events, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Federal Advocacy, Public Advocacy, School Boards, Urban Schools|

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools receives NSBA’s 2013 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is the 2013 recipient of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has increased student test scores, hit a new high in the graduation rate, and the school board has raised its standing with the public by engaging the community in strategic decisions that will influence the school system’s future.

“School leaders for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are truly meeting the challenge to increase student success and achievement in a diverse and large school district,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The National School Boards Association is pleased to honor the Board of Education for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence for all their accomplishments.”

The announcement was made during the Saturday luncheon at the CUBE Annual Conference being held this weekend in San Antonio. The CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a 141,000-student school system, the nation’s 18th largest. Since 2008, student test scores have risen on most measures, with scores for third through eighth graders on state end-of-grade exams rising by 15 percentage points or more in English and math. In science, proficiency rates are up by 34 points.
Some of the biggest gains have been among minority and economically disadvantaged students—a welcome reward for the innovative and aggressive efforts that the school board and superintendent have put into closing the racial and economic achievement gap. Another sign of their progress is the 81 percent high school graduation rate, which has risen 15 points over the past five years.

“We are very honored to receive this award on behalf of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” said Mary T. McCray, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Board chairperson. “All of us on the Board are dedicated to improving the education and the lives of our students. This award recognizes the hard work we’ve done as a Board, and as a district, to achieve that mission and we are grateful to the Council of Urban Boards of Education for this recognition.”
This is the 10th annual CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence and the first time a North Carolina school district has received the award.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was selected by an independent judging panel based on materials submitted by the school district, independent follow-up research, and information provided by the district’s state school boards association.

The judges selected the winner based on the following four criteria: Excellence in school board governance; building civic capacity; closing the achievement gap—equity in education; and demonstrated success of academic excellence.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has done an exceptional job at developing a strategic plan with community involvement and has focused on implementing that plan to continuously improve student achievement,” said Dr. Ed Dunlap, Jr. Executive Director of the North Carolina School Boards Association. “By receiving the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will serve as a successful governance model for excellence in our state and for urban school districts across the country.”

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information on CUBE, the award, and past winners, please visit www.nsba.org/cube.

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Leadership, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

Former Baltimore City school board leader honored with 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

2013 Mays Award

Jerrelle Francois receives the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has honored Jerrelle Francois, a former board of education member from Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools, with the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

Francois, who has more than a half century of service in education, received the award October 5 at the 2013 CUBE Annual Conference in San Antonio. The 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

“The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award honors school board leaders who work tirelessly to improve urban education,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Jerrelle Francois’s leadership has made a difference in the education of thousands of students who have attended Baltimore City Public Schools. We appreciate her dedication to the students, the school board, and the community.”

Baltimore City Public Schools has 85,000 students, 10,000 employees, and 195 schools.

Francois was appointed to the Baltimore school board in 2004 and served until 2013. One of Francois’s proudest accomplishments was her work with the school board on developing a new 10-year strategic plan which launched an aggressive reform effort to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college, career training, and life success in the 21st century. The Baltimore City school district received the 2010 CUBE Annual Award for Urban Education Excellence.

During her board tenure, Francois was a champion for promoting improved communications with parents and the community. Francois was instrumental in establishing the school system’s Office of Partnerships, Communications, and Community Engagement.

“I am honored to receive the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award and proud of my nine years of school board service to Baltimore City Public Schools,” said Jerrelle Francois. “I know how important school board members are in shaping the direction of a successful school system that is advancing student achievement for all students.”

Over the years, Francois has experienced the challenges of public education from all angles—as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, university instructor, and most recently as an education consultant at Learn It Systems.

“Jerrelle Francois’s school board service demonstrates outstanding leadership and a strong vision for improving education for students in Baltimore,” said Frances Hughes Glendening, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. “Baltimore City Public Schools is a true urban district success story, proving that solid leadership at the board level results in advancing student achievement.”

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to the educational needs of urban schoolchildren through school board service. Benjamin Elijah Mays, whom the award honors, was a teacher, minister, author, and civil rights activist who served as president of Morehouse College and the Atlanta school board from 1970 to 1981.

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information about CUBE and the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, please visit www.nsba.org/cube.

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, School Boards, State School Boards Associations, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , |

Missouri businessman, MSBA announce $1 million incentive for Baldrige school district award

A Missouri couple will donate $1 million to the first public school district in their state that can win a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes organizations for achieving performance excellence. The award will be announced at the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) conference this weekend.

Larry Potterfield said he and his wife, Brenda Potterfield, are making the donation because they want to help improve public education in Missouri. “This is for the children,” he said. “We want to impact the educational system, to make the school districts more accountable, to better prepare and educate the next generation so that our nation can continue to compete in the global marketplace.”

The gift challenge will reinforce current efforts for measurable educational improvements among Missouri’s 520 school districts as they strive to achieve “role model status,” as defined by the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Each year, the President of the United States honors American organizations in business, health care, education, non-profit, and government that win a Baldrige Award, the nation’s only award for performance excellence.

Anne L. Bryant, who sits on the board of the Baldrige Foundation and is a former executive director of the National School Boards Association, said that Larry and Brenda Potterfield’s million dollar challenge has called upon the entire state of Missouri to ”show the way” by encouraging every school district across the state to consider taking up the Baldrige quality and excellence program.

“Like all Baldrige Award winners, a school district that goes through the process is demonstrating to its students, faculty, staff, parents and entire community that it wants to be the best,” Bryant said. “I watched my neighboring district, The Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) go through the process and reach the national award with such pride and excitement. It reinforced to the community and the entire state that this public school district could be an example for all.”

Moreover, Bryant said that the Baldrige community is “thrilled by the Potterfield’s generosity but, even more importantly, by their foresight to focus on education…which indeed is the cornerstone of a state’s economy and future.

The $1 million gift will be stewarded by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award until it is awarded.

“The million dollar unrestricted gift will be an obvious benefit to the school district that demonstrates outstanding performance,” said Potterfield, who is CEO of Midway USA, a company that sells hunting and gun supplies. “The school district will receive tremendous recognition for winning the Baldrige Award. Most importantly, the winner will have to demonstrate an improvement in educational outcomes because the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are results-driven.”

The Potterfields’ official announcement will be made at the 2013 MSBA Annual Conference on Oct. 5, 2013. The conference is held in cooperation with the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).

“We’re delighted Larry and Brenda Potterfield chose the MSBA Annual Conference to announce their gift,” said Dr. Carter Ward, the MSBA executive director. “MSBA strongly supports school districts interested in utilizing the Baldrige Criteria to create a culture of continuous improvement ultimately aimed at providing the finest possible education for the students in our public schools.”

Dr. P. George Benson, chair of the Board of Directors of the Baldrige Foundation, called it “gratifying” for the Potterfields to link their donation to the Baldrige National Award for Performance Excellence.

“It demonstrates the faith and confidence that Larry and Brenda Potterfield have in the Baldrige Program,” Dr. Benson said. “For 25 years, we helped organizations in the public and private sectors reach their peak level of effectiveness, and honored the very best with a Baldrige Award. With their generous donation, the Potterfields are challenging Missouri school districts to provide a better education to their students.”

School districts must reach the highest level in the Missouri Quality Award, the state Baldrige-based program, to apply to the National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award Program. School districts will need to demonstrate performance results that are national benchmarks and better than their peer groups at comparably-sized school districts across the country. In so doing, they will be improving their budget and operations, as well as the education they provide in the classrooms.

“Schools and districts interested in pursuing a Baldrige award can access resources through the recently launched Missouri Network for Educational Improvement (MNEI),” says Daniel L. Clay, dean of the University of the Missouri College of Education. “The network will help schools and districts strategically coordinate continuous improvement efforts.”  The MNEI is led by the Hook Center at the University of Missouri College of Education, in partnership with MSBA, MASA and districts around the state.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|October 4th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Educational Research, School Board News, School Boards, School Climate, School District Reorganization, School Reform, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA: Allegations of misused funds by charter school operators show need for school board oversight

According to The Washington Post, D.C. authorities filed a lawsuit Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court in which former senior managers and the board chairwoman of D.C.-based Options Public Charter School (OPCS) are accused of diverting millions of taxpayer dollars intended to fund student programs.

The lawsuit claims that improper payments of more than $3 million were made since 2012. The filing alleges a “pattern of self-dealing” in which large payments were made to for-profit companies that OPCS managers founded while running the charter school. The OPCS enrolls about 400 at-risk students in middle and high school, many of whom have disabilities, for which the charter school receives thousands of dollars in extra taxpayer-based payments because they have special needs. The OPCS board chairwoman is D.C.-based WUSA9 news personality J.C. Hayward.

“The alleged charges surrounding this local issue should spark national attention and concern,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association. “While charter schools authorized by local boards of education assure the public of transparency and accountability, those solely in the for-profit sector without the oversight of a public school board offer a degree of risk that does not effectively serve the public interest. Strong local governance protects students’ interests. If these allegations are proven true, it is yet another case in point that local school boards are what best serve the public good.”

According to the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB), Options Public Charter School opened in 1996 as one of D.C.’s first five charter schools. While the initial charter was issued by the D.C. Board of Education, oversight for the past six years (including the period during which the abuses are alleged to have occurred) has been the responsibility of PCSB, an appointed board with no direct accountability to the public.

NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. noted that any misuse of public funds would ultimately hurt students and the public schools that serve D.C. families.

“The diversion of tax dollars from traditional public schools into charter schools lacking the oversight of a public school board serves neither students nor taxpayers,” said Negrón. “Diverting scarce monies into such programs limits the ability of traditional public schools to carry out their mission to educate all children.”

Joetta Sack-Min|October 2nd, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Charter Schools, Educational Finance, Governance, Public Advocacy, School Boards, School Reform|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA mourns the loss of Oklahoma’s Dr. Jeffrey Mills

Dr. Jeffrey Mills

Dr. Jeffrey Mills

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is mourning the loss of Dr. Jeffrey Mills, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), who passed away on Sept. 23, 2013.

“Dr. Jeffrey Mills was such a strong education leader in Oklahoma and very dedicated to advancing public education through local school board leadership,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.

Mills had been the OSSBA Executive Director since October 2008. With 527 school districts in Oklahoma, Mills enjoyed the opportunity to train, represent, and serve the local school boards throughout the state.

Mills, who began his K-12 career as a teacher for Oklahoma’s Snyder Public Schools, also worked as a coach and as an elementary and high school principal. Mills was an experienced school administrator, previously serving as the superintendent for Oklahoma’s Woodward, El Reno, and Leedey Public Schools.
Memorials may be given to the El Reno School Foundation, Northwestern Oklahoma State Alumni Association, or the Oklahoma State School Board Association Public School Foundation.

Alexis Rice|September 25th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

NSBA president wins Bammy Award for school board leadership

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler honored with Bammy Award

The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences presented David A. Pickler, President of the National School Board Association (NSBA), with a Bammy Award in the school board category.

The Bammy Awards were given out on Sept. 20 at an awards gala in Washington in key categories. For the school board category, Reggie Felton, NSBA’s Assistant Executive Director for Congressional Affair, presented the award.

This is the second year of the Bammy Awards. Last year, Pickler was also honored and received the Educator’s Voice Award.

NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praised Pickler on the Bammy Award honor and for his dedication to public education and school board governance.

“David Pickler is a strong advocate for local school governance to advance our public education system for all children,” said Gentzel.” Receiving the Bammy Award in the school board category is well deserving for such a committed, effective, and respected school board leader.”

Pickler has served on the Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools Board of Education since 1998. Pickler serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee School Boards Association and served as their President in 2009. Pickler joined the NSBA Board of Directors in 2008 and was elected as NSBA’s Secretary-Treasurer in 2011 and President-Elect in 2012. Pickler is currently serving as NSBA President.

According to the organizers, “the Bammy Awards were created in response to the relentless national criticism of America’s public schools. The negative perception of public education has led to a decrease in public confidence, calls for reductions in financial support and intense scrutiny of educators, while all that is right in American education is largely ignored.”

Alexis Rice|September 24th, 2013|Categories: School Boards|Tags: , |

Education Talk Radio highlights outstanding school district programs through the Magna Awards

The National School Boards Association’s American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) Magna Awards, were highlighted this week on Education Talk Radio.

Kathleen Vail, Editor in Chief for ASBJ; Gregory Yost, Sodexo’s Manager of Public Relations; Bruce Hancock, the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Derry Township School District, in Hershey, Pa.; and Diantha McKeel, a school board member for Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va. discussed the Magna Awards and school district success. Derry Township School District and  Albemarle County Public Schools were both grand prize Magna Awards winners in 2013.

Listen to the show:

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In 2013, the Derry Township School District, earned the Magna Awards grand prize in the under 5,000 enrollment category for its COCOA Principles program which aims to prepare students to be global Derry Township School District citizens. COCOA Principles, which stands for Community Opportunity Citizenship Ownership Academics, has encouraged the entire community, not just students, to be more inclusive, respectful, and responsible citizens. Students seen reflecting the program’s principles are nominated for awards, and high school graduation projects must identify the COCOA principle the student is modeling.

In 2013, Albemarle County Public Schools was honored as the Magna Awards grand prize winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category for M-Cubed: Math, Men and Mission, a program developed to improve the academic achievement of African-American male students and encourage them to enroll in higher level high school math classes. The program starts with a two-week summer academy for upper elementary and middle school students but extends year-round with mentoring and academic support from the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, a community group.

The Magna Awards, supported by Sodexo, recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. Each of the grand prize winning school districts receives a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo.

Learn more about the Magna Awards and nominate your program on ASBJ‘s website. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2013 for nominations for the 2014 Magna Awards.

Also check out the searchable Magna Awards Best Practices Database, where you can browse through past Magna winners and other high-scoring programs for innovative best practices, proven and practical solutions, and new ideas. New programs that receive high scores from the Magna judges.

Alexis Rice|September 19th, 2013|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance, Leadership, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |
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