What does a school board do?

Local school boards are a uniquely American idea. School boards provide a public voice for, and about, local public education. Boards serve as a source of community input about what schools should provide to students and what families should expect from their schools. School boards set achievement standards for students, hold professional educators accountable for performance, and serve as watchdogs over the assets and expenditures of the district. When a board of education is functioning at a high level, the entire school district and community at large benefit.

What makes an effective school board member?

  • Effective board members work with their colleagues to set clear goals and remain focused on their top priorities, letting nothing else distract them.
  • Board members who focus on shared beliefs and values concerning what is possible for all students drive innovations that improve student outcomes.
  • Effective board members focus on the “why and what” and let professionals focus on the “how.”
  • Board members who are broadly connected to the community and have good relationships with staff and community members are able to represent interests that go beyond their own personal life experiences.
  • Effective board members do their homework and are savvy about data and outcomes in their districts and in surrounding communities.
  • School board members who take part in development and training as a team are able to find important areas of focus and set goals that respect the values that the community shares in common. That’s good for kids!