We must put our students first and work stronger together
By Monica Trejo, President, ASBA Board of Directors
School board members are elected officials and policymakers. Our primary focus is to support our students and our schools. ASBA has been supporting school board members and our public schools for more than 70 years by cultivating excellence in our locally governed school districts. Arizona’s school board members represent a range of different backgrounds, including professions, political ideologies, racial and ethnic backgrounds, ages (from 18 to 70+), and other attributes. ASBA members serve in rural, remote, urban and suburban school districts. We are 1,100+ school board members strong. Nationally, there are approximately 90,000 school board members.
Unlike other elected officials, school board members are unpaid, and we are the most accountable to our local communities. Every day, we encounter our constituents, including our students and their families. You will likely find us at the grocery store, local library, church or neighborhood park. When I ask school board members why they ran for an unpaid position, I encounter a variety of responses, from a parent wanting to be more involved in their child’s education to a retired veteran wanting to continue to serve their country in some way. Despite the range of responses I’ve heard, the goal is always the same: to help make a positive difference for students.
For the past two years, we have been met with unprecedented challenges. As board members, we had to step up as community leaders and make difficult and critical decisions in the face of global uncertainty. Boards must continue to work effectively with their district staff, fellow board members, parents, business and community leaders. We need to all work together to support our students. Divisive boards are detrimental to our schools and our communities. Research highlights a correlation between effective governance and student achievement.
During more difficult days, you may wonder, “Why am I still doing this?” I think it’s important to remind yourself and ask, why did you run for school board? For me, I grew up experiencing poverty, food insecurity and even homelessness. I lacked basic stability as a child and attended public schools in rural, suburban and urban communities throughout Arizona, switching schools 10 times by the time I turned ten years old. I know what it’s like to be hungry and without. It’s because of my teachers, schools and their resources that I became the first in my home to graduate from high school and I am now earning my doctorate in education leadership.
Education has transformed my life and ingrained in me the importance of public education. In my career, I have served as a special education teacher, school administrator and worked in education policy. I ran for school board because I want to make a positive difference for all students, regardless of their backgrounds or where they come from because that’s what public education did for me. We need strong governance to help strengthen our public schools to support our students.
Our schools can help improve the lives of students and their families, overall, creating a more promising and prosperous future for all Arizonans. I hope you will remember why you serve and continue to help make a positive difference for all students in your communities. I appreciate your service and the sacrifices you and your families have made to support our one million Arizona students. We must continue to put our students first and work stronger together. I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve all of you as your new ASBA president and I look forward to working with you this year to continue our critical mission of supporting our students and our schools.
ASBA Advocate of the Year Award presented plus new Advocacy Response Team forms
Congratulations to Monica Timberlake who was presented with the ASBA 2022 Advocate of the Year Award! This is an annual award presented to recognize an education advocate or advocates who have excelled in grassroots advocacy. The award was presented to Monica, ASBA La Paz County Director and board member in Quartzsite ESD during ASBA’s Advocacy Day.
The ASBA Advocacy Response Team (ART) held it’s first meeting to begin getting board members who want to participate connected to immediate actions they could take to help enhance ASBA’s effectiveness at the Legislature. We spent about an hour going through a some priority bills and reviewing some of the tools available for members to keep track of what is happening at the capitol, like BillTrack50. Team members will continue to get updates on how to be effective for the remainder of the Legislative session as well as training and support throughout the interim to keep building relationships with Legislators and others to advocate for public schools throughout Arizona. Sound interesting to you? We would love to have you join us. To get more information, email Devin Del Palacio at email@example.com.
ASBA celebrates Cesar Chavez Day with resources for school districts
Cesar Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona and dedicated his life to being a civil rights and farm labor leader. He committed his time to what he called “la causa” (the cause), which aimed to improve working and living conditions for farmworkers. He became a leading voice in civil rights and, along with his partner Dolores Huerta, founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) which greatly increased awareness around the problems that farmworkers face.
Cesar Chavez’s legacy has been celebrated on his birthday for decades, but Cesar Chavez Day was not born until President Barack Obama declared March 31 a national holiday in his honor in 2014. “As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation,” said Obama when advocating for Cesar Chavez Day in 2008.
Now, we continue to honor Cesar Chavez Day to remember his teachings and appreciate all of the impactful feats he accomplished. On March 31, ASBA will honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez with a day of service for staff.
ASBA has also created a dedicated webpage with a list of resources that school districts can use to honor Cesar Chavez as a board, in the classroom or with your community.
NEW! 2022 Board President Cohort Listserv
An exclusive benefit of ASBA membership
Have you been elected as the board president for your district for the 2022 calendar year? If so, congratulations! ASBA has developed a new tool just for you! We know the role of the board president is an important one and we also know it can be difficult.
The board president listserv (essentially a group email) will provide the opportunity for board presidents across Arizona to discuss current trends/issues and the chance to hear the strategies that work from other board presidents. It will also enable the sharing of best practices, impending issues and include consultation with ASBA staff, as needed.
We won’t automatically add you to the listserv so if you are the board president for 2022 and would like to be added to the listserv, please complete the following link or email Julie Bacon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASBA celebrates Social Work Month
ASBA is helping celebrate this year’s Social Work Month in March with a campaign to highlight how social workers have enriched our public schools and how their services continue be needed today.
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a shortage of social workers in schools and other sectors where they are vitally needed.
We asked social workers from school districts across the state why they chose the profession. View these social worker spotlight graphics on ASBA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Don’t forget to participate in FY2022 ASBA Teacher-Admin Salary Survey
Closes Friday, March 11
It’s that time of year again and we hope that your district will consider participating in the FY2022 ASBA Teacher and Administrator Salary and Benefits Survey. The more districts that complete the survey, the more beneficial the results will be. An email was sent to all superintendents, business officials and superintendent and governing board administrative professionals.
The purpose of the ASBA Teacher and Administrator Salary and Benefits Survey is to provide comparative data to school district leaders to use when making decisions related to salaries and benefits for teachers, principals, assistant principals and district-level administrators. All data is self-reported by school districts, using an online collection tool provided by ASBA.
- Opens Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022
- Closes Friday, March 11, 2022
Access to the results of this survey is an exclusive benefit of ASBA membership.
A summary report with an overview of survey results will be released to all ASBA members. Districts that complete the survey also receive the full data set in an Excel spreadsheet. These will be provided two weeks of closing.
ASBA invites students to apply for scholarships
Arizona high school seniors who attend school in an ASBA member district are invited to apply for scholarships available through the association. The deadline for applications for all three is 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2022.
The Jack Peterson Scholarship is awarded annually to at least one Arizona high school senior who plans to pursue education as their major course of study at the college/university level. Amounts of the awards vary from year to year and are based on annual earnings from the scholarship endowment. Scholarship amounts typically range from $1,000 to $1,500. The scholarship was established in honor of ASBA Executive Director Jack Peterson, who served the association from 1991 to 1998.
The Panfilo H. Contreras Honorary Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2013 by ASBA’s Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus. Hispanic and Native American Indian students are eligible to apply for this scholarship to support their attendance at an accredited post-secondary institution. Last year’s scholarships were $1,000 each.
The Georgie and Calvin Goode Student Scholarship was established by the ASBA Black Alliance in 2021 and will be awarded for the first time in Spring 2022. Two scholarships of $1,250 each are available. Scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who demonstrate an exceptional record of academic growth and a commitment to service to others. Applicants must be a currently enrolled senior in an ASBA member district, Black or of African descent and planning to further their education at an accredited postsecondary institution.
More information and a link to the online application forms is available here.
Meet Juan Castillo, new county director for Yuma County and board member in the Somerton Elementary School District.
Superintendent positions opening in Mayer USD and Phoenix ESD coming soon
ASBA is your one-stop-shop for superintendent searches. Currently there are superintendent positions openings in Mayer USD and other district. Coming soon is Phoenix ESD. View all positions.
View Recording! How to create more inclusive spaces for students with disabilities
Supporting Our Students: Disability Awareness, Culture & Etiquette for Inclusion and Empowerment
Receive recording to your email by registering for the event.
Our students with disabilities have various needs depending on their specific disabilities. However, one thing all students need is to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging. In this session, April Reed, Vice President of Advocacy at Ability 360 we share some specific things we can do to create more inclusive spaces for our students with disabilities.
Receive a recording directly to your email by registering for the event. All past webinar events can be found on the ASBA website archives.
ASBA Events and Webinars
Upcoming ASBA Events
COMING SOON – Summer Leadership Institute, June 9-11
Registration opens April 11, 2022
View all ASBA events on the ASBA website.
Upcoming ASBA Webinars
March 9, 5-6 p.m. Supporting Our Students: Disability Awareness, Culture & Etiquette for Inclusion and Empowerment
May 17, 5 – 6 p.m. Webinar: I am on the Ballot…Now What?
November 17, 5 – 6 p.m. Webinar: I Was Elected…Now What?
Plus more! You can find all Wednesday webinars on the ASBA webpage, https://azsba.org/events-asba/.
Can’t view the webinar live? No problem. Go ahead and register and you will receive the recording automatically by email so you can view it later. There is no cost to register for these webinars. We encourage advance registration.