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Annual Training Conference, Day 1

November 28, 2018

I’m attending the annual training conference of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) in San Francisco. The Wednesday session includes a daylong session for the 600-odd newly-elected school board members in California. Experienced board members start on Thursday.

After an introduction, the first session was a talk and slide show by the former executive director of CSBA, Davis Campbell. His topic was “The governance mindset,” and talked about transitioning from “campaigning” mode to “governing” mode. He said board members need confidence that they share core values about their purpose, and talked about “System Thinking” (like a car, a school district has many parts that must dependably work together), “Strategic Focus,” “Deep Learning” and “Manners.”

(I enjoyed his quote for the manners section, from a rulebook George Washington copied out by hand when he was 16 years old. I didn’t get the exact quoted section, but found a link to an article about them.)

The next session was led by a current board member and a retired board member, called “The First 100 Days: A Survival Guide.” They talked about policies, values and protocols, and showed an example of an annual board meeting planning calendar. While he was speaking, I located my copy of our district’s calendar, and when a superintendent from another district sitting near me noticed it, he was impressed enough to photograph it for his own use. It was more focused and easy to use than the example calendar on the slideshow. Go Fairfield Suisun School District!

The next session was led by a different board member and former board member, and focused on the California open meetings law, called the Brown Act, and meeting protocols.

The next session was presented by staff members of CSBA, describing resources and services provided by the association.

Finally, the two presenters from early in the day wrapped up and summarized a lot of the learning, and then the group dismissed to a “Networking Reception.” I visited with another new board member from a San Jose-area district, and we compared notes.

It was an interesting day, and I made lots of notes. It was very worth my time.

By the evening, a few other board members from Fairfield Suisun had arrived and we went out to dinner to socialize.

I look forward to tomorrow’s sessions when the main conference begins. Bonus: Around 10 pm my wife Gayla arrived to share the hotel room. I don’t think she’ll be able to attend the conference, but I think she looks forward to tagging along where she can (in the evening?) and enjoy the hotel room in the meantime.


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