Kentucky School Advocate
By Josh Shoulta
KSBA Director of Communications
As 2020 draws closer, many of us will no doubt piece together our New Year’s resolutions. The start of a new calendar year affords us the chance to begin again, re-sharpening our goals and putting bad habits behind us. The advent of a new year brings with it a sense of ambition and hope. This will be the year.
My wife and I make a fun activity out of creating our resolutions lists. We collect construction paper, crayons and markers, committing our resolutions to a colorful format that can live on our fridge. As for me, I plan to cut back on desserts, exercise three times a week and read more to my toddler.
As a goal for 2020, I also plan to be more thoughtful and deliberate in celebrating the contributions of others. Too often we, bogged down with work and life’s other demands, forget to recognize what others do for us and with us. This type of recognition is important to the culture of a school district – or any organization for that matter. Thankfully, the calendar is full of commemorative dates for virtually every position within a public school district. From Administrative Professionals’ Week in April to National Teacher Appreciation Day in May, we can highlight the service and dedication of our colleagues.
This also applies to school board members. Their roles as trustees of a district and as advocates on its behalf are critical to success. Board service is often thankless and requires after hours commitments and significant training and comes with a small stipend that never compensate for the amount of work required.
School Board Recognition Month is observed each January. Because it falls just after the holiday break, it may not receive adequate attention. KSBA will once again be providing a helpful SBRM toolkit, full of templates and ideas for easily implementing plans to recognize your district’s school board. Kick off the new year the right way and celebrate the men and women who were elected to represent the public education interests of your community.
While KSBA’s School Board Recognition Month resources will be distributed this month, here are a handful of tips for superintendents and district staffs to honor those on their local boards of education.
(1) Know the role. Very often, community members misunderstand what it is that school boards do. Think about how you can better educate parents, employees and even students on the responsibilities of a school board. Your board members will appreciate the effort, and your community will benefit from having a better understanding.
(2) Highlight why each school board member ran for office. The reasons behind why someone answered the call to serve as a school board member will often amaze you. The stories can be very personal, and they can serve to bridge a gap between employees of the district and the board members themselves.
(3) Use what’s already on the calendar to celebrate. If your school board has a January meeting scheduled, then you may already have the perfect setting to recognize members in person. Often, the school board meeting can serve as the culminating event of SBRM. Take advantage of this public opportunity.
(4) Here’s your sign. Does your central office and/or schools have marquees out front? Do your schools have monitors in the common areas for announcements? Do you distribute school newsletters and e-blasts on a weekly or monthly basis? Your school already has established channels of communications. All you have to do is drop in the message of School Board Recognition Month. Copy. Paste. Repeat.
Visit KSBA.org throughout the months of December and January for ready-to-use SBRM resources. Use the hashtag #LoveKySchoolBoards in your school board recognition social media posts. KSBA may share them. Does your district have a unique way of recognizing your school board members? Tell us about it. Email photos and descriptions to [email protected].