Making room to grow
Kentucky School Advocate
By Kerri Schelling
KSBA Executive Director
This spring, while daffodils were blooming, temperatures were rising and days were getting longer, KSBA took part in a time-honored spring tradition that people love – or love to hate; spring cleaning. Over several months, association staff sorted through decades worth of accumulation that had been tucked away in closets, drawers, boxes, file cabinets and storage rooms. In between determining what needed to stay and what needed to go were a lot of fond memories of activities and people, the occasional raised eyebrow and more than a few laughs. The tedious process renewed our appreciation for where we’ve been and where we are now as an organization. KSBA has a long history of doing amazing and important work on members’ behalf.
While many things have changed over the years (e.g., a membership with more diverse needs and values and more demands on their time), the need to engage with members in meaningful and effective ways has endured. Sorting through the remains of bygone projects and obsolete technology reminded me that we also have a long history of embracing change and innovation to make success happen. Part of that philosophy includes creating opportunities that keep our association moving forward.
While our “spring purge” gave us all the psychological and practical benefits that come with a thorough cleaning, it also cleared the path for us to strengthen our long-standing partnerships with two important public education groups. The exercise quite literally resulted in more space to collaborate. In recent months, KSBA has welcomed into our “home” two organizations whose services align with many of the responsibilities of Kentucky’s locally elected school board teams.
This spring, KSBA welcomed the Kentucky School Plant Management Association (KSPMA) to share space in our Frankfort headquarters. KSPMA’s mission is to promote and enhance the educational process through proper management practices related to school operations and maintenance – work from which many of your district’s administrative and operational staff benefit. Facilities remain one of the most expensive responsibilities school boards have and some of you may be familiar with KSPMA from their presence at KSBA conference trade shows. While we have collaborated with the association for years, our relationship took on new meaning in 2019 when KSPMA took over statewide Local Planning Committee Facilitator Services once conducted by KSBA consultants. Since then, our partnership has continued to thrive, and we could not be happier to have them on site.
KSBA also recently welcomed the opportunity to serve as the fiscal agent and home base for the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC), an initiative that supports many of your schools whether you know it or not. KECSAC is a statewide network that works with state agencies, your school districts and local programs to ensure quality education for children in the custody or supervision of the Commonwealth. These are students who are being served in programs funded and operated by the Kentucky Departments of Juvenile Justice, Community Based Services, and Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities. School board members are committed to educating ALL students, and there is no greater example of that goal in action than KECSAC.
By coming together under one roof, KSBA, KSPMA and KECSAC will have new opportunities for collaboration that benefit all whom we serve. We look forward to sharing more about these two organizations – and the ways we are working together – in the months and years ahead.
If there is a lesson to be learned from our ambitious spring cleaning, it is perhaps that opportunities for future success often require us to consciously let go of what may be holding us back. Past decisions, conflicts and controversies can clutter our lives in ways that keep us from being forward-thinking. Holding onto things too long can stifle teamwork required of our elected leaders. As we ramp up for another school year, I challenge you to wipe the slate clean and make 2022-23 your best year of board service yet!