Activities for Students on School Boards

What can students actually DO on school boards?

School boards have many different names, including board of regents, board of education, school committee, board of directors, and board of trustees. Sometimes, they are publicly elected entities; other times, they are appointed by elected officials; and other times, they are privately selected groups. Following are activities for students on school boards written for the SoundOut Students on School Boards Toolbox.

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Regardless of what they’re called, students can do all of the activities of a school board, including participating in all decision-making, advocacy, and personnel issues. That includes:

  • Vision: Students can participate in setting the vision and goals of a district or state board of education.
  • Rules: Student board members can adopt policies that give schools direction as they set priorities and achieve goals.
  • Hiring: As board members, students can be responsible for hiring and evaluating the district or state chief school officer, whether a superintendent, executive director, or otherwise.
  • Money: Students can work with other board members to adopt and oversee the annual budget.
  • Personnel: Student board members can join the board in managing the collective bargaining process for employees.
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School boards really manage the leadership side of local education agencies, or often the state education agency as well. A typical school board meeting includes all kinds of business items, including:

  • Approving the school calendar
  • Adopting curriculum
  • Overseeing school construction
  • Approving contracts with outside vendors.
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Good school boards maintain a balance between the hard work of running the district at the same time as they focus on the district’s priorities for academic achievement. Students should be part of all these activities, and more!

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