The What + Why
What is School Board School?
School Board School is a six-month program for engaged citizens of all backgrounds who are interested in running for school board or looking for ways to better understand the school system in order to create significant and sustainable change. Through a series of workshops, panels, presentations, board meetings, tours, and collaborations, participants gain the skills, mindset, experiences, and networks necessary to be successful school board members and education advocates.
School Board School’s curriculum provides opportunities to attend board meetings, visit schools, and engage with current board members, district administrators, and education experts. These experiences help ground participants in their values and motivations for this work, all while creating a network of knowledgeable and engaged citizens who will work together to make a positive impact on students’ academic and life opportunities.
Why do we need School Board School?
We know systems change when pressure is applied from both inside and outside the system. That’s why we’re building pathways for people who want to effect change as school board members as well as for those seeking to make changes from other roles in the community.
There are more than 90,000 people serving on almost 14,000 local school boards in the United States and almost none of them received training before starting the role. While many organizations recruit people to run for office and help them get elected, few organizations prepare people to be effective once they are in office. Terms in office are short and the job starts day one, so there's no time for a learning curve. School board members need to be ready to serve on day one.
They need School Board School.
We don’t focus on campaigning; rather, our focus is on governing. We build participants’ knowledge of education policy, district finance, and the role of a board member, as well as how to create systemic change. At School Board School, we build a qualified and diverse bench of equity focused elected officials who are not just ready to run but are ready to serve.
Additionally, engaged citizens seeking to positively impact children’s academic and life opportunities via other roles in the community learn how to navigate the school system and work with the Board of Education to effect significant and sustainable change from outside the system.
By the end of School Board School, participants understand how the district operates and the changes they want to make to improve outcomes for children, and they know the seat from which they want to make their impact. Future board members are ready to govern effectively, and all participants become informed constituents who are better able to advocate for their children and community.