In 2007, the state’s School District Accountability Act was signed into law. This multifaceted legislation impacts school board members in a variety of ways, including the requirement to complete mandated training.

As the state designated training provider for all mandated training courses, the New Jersey School Boards Association offers a variety of options – all at no charge.

Whether it’s Governance 1, which I like to call “boot camp for new school board members,” Governance II, Governance III or Governance IV, mandated training provides new and returning school board members the chance to acquire knowledge and build skills that are prerequisites to furthering student achievement.

NJSBA is always working hard to improve the mandated training it offers. In fact, it recently convened a committee to update the Governance I curriculum, which aligns with my goal of getting back to basics. 

As you complete your mandated training, I’d urge you to keep in mind how it can help you be more effective – and how that, in turn, can lead to stronger, more effective boards.

The Center of Public Education, the research arm of the National School Boards Association, conducted a meta-analysis of 10 studies and reports on school board leadership, including several based on the Iowa Lighthouse inquiry. It found that effective school boards do the following:

  1. Commit to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction, and they define clear goals toward that vision.
  2. Share strong beliefs about what is possible for students to achieve and their ability to learn, as well as the capability of the school system to teach all children at high levels. 
  3. Are accountability-driven. They spend less time on operational issues and more time focused on policies to improve student achievement. 
  4. Have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals. 
  5. Are data savvy; they embrace and monitor data, even when the information is negative, and use data to drive continuous improvement.
  6. Align and sustain resources, such as professional development, to meet district goals. 
  7. Lead as a united team with the superintendent, each from their respective roles, with strong collaboration and mutual trust.
  8. Participate in team development and training, sometimes with their superintendents, to build shared knowledge, values and commitment for their improvement efforts.

Training and professional development, including mandated training, will help you master these characteristics. 

We often say that no public officials in New Jersey have a greater impact on the lives of children than school board members. NJSBA can help you acquire the skills and knowledge you need to serve the children in your community.