I’m board president, now what?

ASBA has created a special webinar series just for school board presidents. Topics include becoming a board president, managing personality types, running a meeting PLUS more. View them here on-demand.

Equity: okay, but whatever

By Torri Anderson, ASBA Treasurer

Strategic Plan Area: Represent and advocate for the diverse needs of our membership

Oh yes, that was my response when I heard the word “Equity” over five years ago. I was almost offended that someone was going to tell me, a board member, that I was not being fair. I was more than capable of representing all the children in my district! With a “chip” on my shoulder, I attended the first ASBA Equity Symposium and you are correct, it was based on the inequities in education, as they affect our children of color. Over the past five years that “chip” on my shoulder has slowly fallen off and my perspective of equity is no longer based on Equality or defined by the color of skin. My understanding of educational equity now includes students who experience homelessness, race, culture, socio-economic differences, learning differences, LGBTQ students and students who live in rural areas.

The two terms are very different:

EQUALITY means every student receives the same tools to complete their assignment.

EQUITY means every student received the tools “they” need, to successfully complete their assignment.

As I learned more about equity, I realize that I needed to break the word down into terms that I can understand; educational obstacles and challenges. It made me remember my first week of kindergarten at Kiddies Kingdom. In the 60’s early childhood education was not acknowledged or provided, but my mother had the foresight to enroll me in this early program. Oh, it was so much fun! Until the teacher gave everyone a pair of identical red scissors. We were instructed to cut out our drawings for the class wall. Well, the fun was OVER! All the scissors where the same, equality right? All those new red bullnose scissors were right-handed and I’m left-handed. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. As the tears rolled down my face and onto my drawing, the teacher cut out my picture for me. She just assumed, I didn’t know how to use scissors and proceeded to demonstrate how to hold and cut.  As I picked the scissors up with my left hand, she promptly put them in my right hand and told me to practice using my right hand. I was ready to quit kindergarten.

Now, recalling this story still brings tears to my eyes. I realized that teacher was not my ally. As a board member this experience helps me advocate, champion and fight for educational equity. I don’t want a student to feel like a failure, because they are different and don’t have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. Every student deserves to reach their highest academic potential and have access to the tools they need. I realize my scissor story can’t be compared to how a student facing a certain disparity or obstacle feels or learns.  But, for me educational equity expands beyond race and includes culture, students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, students who suffer socio-economic differences and even students in rural and remote areas. They all experience the educational inequities within our classrooms. It is my job to learn how to become an ally and apply equity in all my decisions that are made from the dais.

Attending that first ASBA Equity Symposium was one of the best decisions I could have made for the students I represent in the Maricopa Unified School District.  I understand my actions as a board member has a direct impact on a student’s learning environment. It is my job to learn how to read and apply policy through an equitable lens. I recently listened to the ASBA webinar on equity and allyship and these words really spoke to me, “The more I learn; the more I realize I don’t know.”

I hope you will join me on this journey to learn more about becoming an ally in equity (educational obstacles and challenges) by attending the upcoming ASBA Equity Event on March 5-6, 2020 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, in Phoenix.

Yes, I’m still left-handed, but now I own several pair of left-handed scissors.

Get out of the summer heat! Join us at SLI

June 4-6 @ 8:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Registration opens April 1 – May 25. This summer conference encourages school boards and superintendents to get away together to help expand their learning on diverse topics and current educational issues. A special track for administrative professionals is also provided! More information to follow.

Classified staff need professional development too

When was the last time you provided a special training for your classified staff? Book a customer service training that focuses on creating a welcoming environment using a customer-focus approach. Learn more here.

School board candidate training in Yuma, March 19, 6-7:30 p.m.

ASBA is excited to present this session on March 19 from 6-7:30 pm at Francis Morris Board Room at Arizona Western College located at 2020 S Ave 8 E, Yuma, AZ 85365.  This event is hosted by Yuma County School Superintendent Tom Tyree and ASBA.

There will be an opportunity for questions and answers as well as presentations on school board service and elections. Pass this information on to anyone thinking about running for a school board seat. Register here.

Why did you become a school board member?

Know anyone running for school board? Send them our way!

Know anyone running for school board? Send them our way! New Webinars

You may have community members interested in running for your school board. Direct them our way!

The Arizona School Boards Association is committed to cultivating excellence in locally-governed school districts. We know the best way to guarantee a quality school in every Arizona community is a well-functioning, locally elected school board. As such, we are dedicated to supporting the efforts of potential and future school board governing members.

ASBA is providing the following webinars for anyone that is interested in running for a school board.

Wednesday, March 25, 6-7 pm

  1. Getting on the Ballot, Fundraising, and Campaigning

Running for School Board: Legal Requirements for getting on the ballot

What happens once I am on the ballot?

Campaigning 101

Fundraising

Getting your name out

Messaging

Campaign Materials (website, social media sites, signs, direct mail, phone calls and walks, automated calls or robo calls

Tuesday, November 9, 6-7 pm

  1. I was Elected: What Now?

What Can I Do Now? (participating in meetings, executive sessions, board updates, etc.)

ASBA’s New Board Member Orientation Program

District Onboarding (see onboarding tool)

Organizational Meeting

All webinars are recorded and emailed directly to registrants. For more information on how to become a school board member, please visit, https://azsba.org/becoming-a-board-member/.

ASBA Events

Equity Event

March 5-6 @ 8:00 – 4:30 p.m.

This experience aims at taking you and your board from a deeper understanding of equity to strategic leadership and impact for closing the opportunity, access and achievement gaps in your schools. Featuring speakers on inclusive leadership, effective allyship, creating welcoming school environments PLUS so much more. Learn more now.

Summer Leadership Institute

June 4-6 @ 8:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Registration opens April 1 – May 25. This summer conference encourages school boards and superintendents to get away together to help expand their learning on diverse topics and current educational issues. A special track for administrative professionals is also provided! More information to follow.

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