California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

Local Governing Boards

Local governing board members play a critical role in ensuring that all students have access to excellent instruction using State Board of Education-adopted content standards and instructional materials. They are also responsible for overseeing the progress of schools in closing the achievement gap. Specifically, they can require, monitor, and reward practices that will help ensure that middle grades students are prepared to succeed in high school and beyond. The following are some of the key issues that school board members can oversee to improve middle grades achievement:

  • Articulation agreements. Boards can develop policies to ensure practices that provide time for elementary, middle, and high school teachers to meet together, align grade-level course work and materials to the content standards, and prepare sequenced common assessments that move students from one level to the next.

  • Professional development opportunities. School board members can allocate time and resources to support professional learning opportunities that help middle grades team members learn how to teach standards-aligned materials in a way that engages the interests of young adolescents.

  • Resource allocation. School board members can allocate resources to provide technology, facilities, counseling, and instructional materials needed so that middle grades students are prepared for success in high school.

As elected representatives of the community, local governing board members represent the educational interests of that community. According to the California School Boards Association’s (CSBA’s) Professional Governance Standards (PDF; Outside Source), effective school district boards:

  1. Involve the community, parents, students, and staff in developing a common vision for the district focused on learning and achievement and responsive to the needs of all students.
  2. Adopt, evaluate, and update policies consistent with the law and the district’s vision and goals. The California School Boards Association (CSBA) offers policy services (Outside Source) to local governing board members.
  3. Maintain accountability for student learning by adopting the district curriculum and monitoring student progress.
  4. Hire and support the superintendent so that the vision, goals, and policies of the district can be implemented.
  5. Conduct regular and timely evaluations of the superintendent based on the vision, goals, and performance of the district and ensure that the superintendent holds district personnel accountable.
  6. Adopt a fiscally responsible budget based on the district’s vision and goals and regularly monitor the fiscal health of the district.
  7. Ensure that a safe and appropriate educational environment is provided to all students.
  8. Establish a framework for the district’s collective bargaining process and adopt responsible agreements.
  9. Provide community leadership on educational issues and advocate on behalf of students and public education at the local, state, and federal levels.

Each year, the California Middle Grades Alliance (CMGA) recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to California’s middle grades. A middle school principal from each district nominated the 15 school boards honored in 2007; the district superintendent or another administrator within each district endorsed each nomination. Each year, the celebratory luncheon is held the day before the start of the Annual Conference of the California League of Middle Schools (Outside Source). Guests include superintendents, school board members, administrators, teachers, and key representatives from the California Middle Grades Alliance.

School District Leadership

Professional collaboration among board members

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