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Strengthen your (governance) core with KSBA summer book study
Kentucky School Advocate
June 2019 
Josh Shoulta
By Josh Shoulta
KSBA Director of Communications 
For Kentucky’s students, June marks the beginning of summer break, the long-awaited respite from early mornings, homework and tests. A well-deserved break from school, however, should not necessarily mean a break from learning. Studies point to the potential for “summer slide,” the regression in learning students may experience upon returning to school after more than two months away from the classroom. Many school districts offer special programs to keep students’ brain cells firing and work to prevent the slide. Efforts include summer reading, camps, enrichment programs and online resources, among other initiatives. 

Continuing this learning momentum in the dog days of July and early August helps to ensure students hit the ground running when they return to school. Perhaps we should follow suit. While the tireless work of our districts never stops, the summer’s change of pace presents an opportunity for renewal, reflection and resolution. Just like your students, we want to keep our school board members engaged all year long!
"The Governance Core:  School Boards, Superintendents, and Schools Working Together"
KSBA would like to provide its members and superintendents with their own summer reading opportunity. For those interested in participating, KSBA will offer a guided book study of “The Governance Core: School Boards, Superintendents, and Schools Working Together,” written by Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan. 

There is no shortage of books offering insights on leadership and management. You would be hard pressed, however, to find similar resources catered specifically to school boards. In the foreword for “The Governance Core,” former National School Boards Association President Frank Pugh refers to the text as “the first book that captures not only the nature of the challenges but also the characteristics of highly successful school board trustees and superintendents working together.” Taking a topical approach to the critical relationship between the board team and superintendent, this 2019 publication devotes thoughtful attention to concepts like:

• shared moral imperative;

• five major themes of good governance;

• strategic focus;

• governance styles;

• stewardship and support.

Our book study, to begin in early July, will incorporate regular emails to participants, poll questions and opportunities to take part in online discussions. Following the study, we will also invite participants to review the book. Excerpts from KSBA member reviews may appear in KSBA publications.

Campbell, one of the book’s co-authors, is a former executive director of the California School Boards Association. 

“What we have found in working with hundreds of high performing, effective school board trustees and superintendents is that in every case, they govern with a profound commitment to quality education for all, combined with a deep understanding, sometimes learned, sometimes intuitive, of what governance is all about,” Campbell wrote in a recent blog post for Education Week. 

We offer this informal exercise to our members and other education leaders who regularly seek professional learning opportunities. We challenge you to read along with us. If you are interested in participating in KSBA’s guided study, you may purchase “The Governance Core” online via Amazon or Corwin Books, or place an order with your local bookstore. Those wishing to participate should plan to obtain a copy by July 8. 

KSBA members and superintendents should look for an email in the weeks ahead with more details on this book study opportunity.
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