By Jennifer Wohlleb
The new school board member training requirements in ethics, finance and superintendent evaluation will continue to be a major focus of KSBA’s next big learning opportunity, the Summer Leadership Institute, July 11-12, but attendees are encouraged not to miss the forest for the trees.
“This first year we’re all on a learning curve,” said Kerri Schelling, KSBA’s director of board team development. “One of the things that we’ve seen so far is that people became so focused on the three mandated topics at annual conference that all of the other important topics that boards need to understand weren’t given much consideration. We want to do everything we can to help board members find that balance again.”
Schelling said this summer’s event will provide board members with the chance to get their new mandated hours but still have the flexibility to learn about other topics that make them more effective board members for their districts. To make that easier, she said there will be two opportunities for board members to attend a special three-hour session.
“We have developed a three-hour session that is going to provide an hour each of ethics, finance and superintendent evaluation,” she said. “It would be particularly good for veteran board members who only need one hour in each of those areas because it would allow them to get their minimum training hours in one, three-hour workshop. But it’s also great for any board member, because if they participate in that class, they only need one or two additional hours of finance training, which they can also pick up during the Institute.”
The three-hour block will be offered Friday afternoon before the Institute begins that evening, and again on Saturday. “KSBA is trying to meet the needs of a very diverse group of people with a very diverse set of scheduling needs,” Schelling said.
Attendees also will hear two dynamic speakers. The Institute will be kicked off by Juli Burney, a humorist and author whose experiences as an award-winning teacher enable her to speak directly to the needs and experiences of school board members. Burney will focus on the importance of effective communication skills and how having a positive attitude and a little humor can help you get through difficult situations and create a good environment.
Another former teacher will be Saturday’s keynote speaker. Dr. John Draper knows the challenges those in education face and will provide a framework to address America’s “declining schools.” In his presentation, he steps back from the rhetoric and looks at the reality of what is really happening in schools and offers facts to refute the myth of failing public schools.
Schelling said the full agenda of work sessions is still coming together, but attendees will have a number of topics to choose from, including a detailed session on the new school calendar changes that were just passed by the state General Assembly. A registration form with the full schedule will be mailed this month and will be available online.