Have you thanked a school board member lately? January is School Board Recognition Month, a recognition that coincides with a nationwide effort to honor and underscore the important role of elected school board members in public education.
On the national level, School Board Recognition Month began in the early 1990s with a proclamation by then-President Bill Clinton. A number of other states also dedicate a month to recognize the service of local school boards.
Such recognition can encourage veteran trustees to continue to make the commitment board service requires; other citizens might be encouraged to get involved in the schools and make positive change. A full month of activities allows local districts, PTAs, booster clubs, community leaders, and individual campuses to organize activities convenient and appropriate for them.
School board members exemplify local control and decision making in our educational system. They volunteer hundreds of hours and an immeasurable amount of energy to assure that our schools are providing the best education possible for the children of this community. Your local school board members ALWAYS have the best interest of the student in mind. The state organization, Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), has declared January as School Board Recognition Month. And, Governor Perry has also declared January School Board Member Recognition Month.
Here are some reasons that January has been declared School Board Recognition Month:
* School board members are local citizens, your friends and neighbors, whose decisions while serving on the school board affect all our children – what they learn, who will teach them, and what kinds of facilities will house their classrooms.
* These are men and women elected to establish the policies that provide the framework for our schools. They represent YOU, and they take this responsibility seriously by attending lengthy meetings; attending conferences where they can broaden their knowledge about education and educational issues; and by attending to numerous conversations about our schools.
* Our school board is one of many such boards across the state. These boards enable the citizens of Texas to have local control of our school, meaning that decisions on school programs are made by local people who understand the community’s unique problems, values, culture, and circumstances.
* With the advice and counsel of the educators they hire, our school board has an impact on virtually every aspect of our schools. It’s a huge responsibility and one that is not to be taken lightly by our members.
Too often we neglect to recognize the dedication and hard work of these men and women who represent all of us. Take a moment to tell a school board member “thanks for caring for our kids.”
So “thanks” to the dedicated men and women who make it possible for our community to have a say about education. We salute the public servants whose dedication and civic responsibility make local control of public schools in our community possible.
Take this opportunity to help acknowledge thousands of public servants who make the time to share their vision and voice about the future of Texas children. Our best wishes for a productive month of building awareness and support in your community.
“Throughout the month of January, an awareness campaign will be conducted to highlight the important role of school boards throughout the Lone Star State. At this time, therefore, I encourage all Texans to recognize the vital contributions of school boards, and the enduring legacy they continue to mold in furthering the best for the Texas of tomorrow,” Perry said.
“As citizens who serve children and their communities, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. Their role is not an easy one. They establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning,” said James B. Crow, executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards.
We applaud them for their vision and voice to help shape a better tomorrow for our students today.
For ideas to help you recognize the valuable contributions of your board of education members click here. Recognition ideas include:
• Original Certificates to present to school board members (Fill in the names and have the superintendent sign it)
• Sample local proclamation
• Tip sheet with ideas for recognition activities
• Sample letters to school board members’ employers to acknowledge their service to the community and emphasize school-business ties
• Sample marquee slogans
• Sample news release
• Sample column for the district newsletter, local newspaper, Web site or other publication
adapted from Kansas Association of School Boards