Our theory of action
We offer interactive learning experiences with content area experts and create a community of engaged citizens who believe that every child can achieve and that it is our collective responsibility to build and support school systems that allow every child to thrive.
To be effective in this work, we believe school board members and citizen advocates must be grounded in a strong sense of purpose and have a deep understanding of the most important issues affecting students in their community. They must listen to the needs of the school community, understand their roles, support their district and school administrations, build coalitions, and work collaboratively to pass and implement meaningful policies.
“When I entered School Board School, I was certain that I understood all things school board and had a strong foundation of knowledge. What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth of knowledge that I would gain, the intensity of self-reflection and personal purpose, and increasing a variety of relationships. School Board School afforded me the opportunity to understand systems, processes and policies while pouring more knowledge and confidence into me.”
While we provide a curriculum that includes the opportunity to engage with content area experts, current and former elected officials, access to relevant research and materials, and field trip experiences, we also expect participants to be actively involved in their learning, and to come prepared, having done the pre-work and thought about the questions they will ask our guests, experts, and each other. Finally, we expect that as participants progress through the curriculum gaining knowledge and skills, they will also begin to recognize gaps in their knowledge, abilities, or experiences and make plans for how to fill them.
Every session incorporates points of reflection, where participants are asked to consider and articulate their values, how those values and their skills/experiences intersect with the work that needs to be done in our school system, and make connections between the decisions they will make as board members or advocates and the impact of those decisions on our students and community.
Participants are also given an opportunity to acknowledge that some changes are best effected from the outside, and that the Board of Education might not be the best place to make the changes they want to see in their communities. The experiences, skills, and networks they gain at School Board School will empower them to effect significant and sustainable change from outside the system.
Finally, the program also builds camaraderie within the group so participants act as a support for each other on the campaign trail, in office, or serving the district’s children in seats outside of the system.