Rusty Reese, Jackie Kenmore, Tina Ischcomer,Tommy Spradlin, Tim Springs
TO: Superintendents and School PR Specialists
FROM: Dr. Jeff Mills, Executive Director
RE: January is School Board Recognition Month
DATE: November 2015
In salute and thanks to over 2700 Oklahoma school board members, January is designated as National School Board Recognition Month. This is your opportunity to build community awareness and understanding about the crucial role an elected board member assumes in a representative democracy. Their commitment to service and public education affects the present and future lives of our children and our communities.
This year’s theme — School Boards Make a World of Difference — reflects the efforts of thousands of men and women who help to shape the direction of Oklahoma public education. This observance offers you an opportunity to build a stronger relationship between your school board members and the community. School board members voluntarily tackle the enormous job of governing school districts while preserving the core of our democratic values.
We hope you will take this opportunity to help acknowledge thousands of public servants who make the time to share their vision and voice about the future of Oklahoma’s children. Use the time as an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of your local board. Encourage community leaders, business partners and local civic groups to join in your recognition efforts. Take advantage of January’s “School Board Recognition Month” to assure that these dedicated people are recognized for their work on behalf of children, youth and families.
The following materials are enclosed to help organize activities:
★ Instruction sheet
★ Tips sheet of suggested activities for the month
★ News release for local media
★ Letter to the editor
★ Public service announcement
★ Sample article for district newsletters and other publications
★ Education quotes sheet
★ Certificates for district presentation to trustees are available from OSSBA
Activities & Tips Sheet:
Here you’ll find dozens of ideas that may be used to celebrate School Board Recognition Month. Some of the newer ideas incorporate using your Web site and e-mail. Don’t let this opportunity slip by without some sort of thanks and recognition for your school board members.
Retype the news release on district letterhead and submit it to the local media, or contact Emily Hutton at 405-528-3571 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an electronic version of the text. A news release should address the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how. Be sure to add information about special ceremonies or events you are planning for your board members. You may want to include an accompanying “fact sheet” about your district and/or board members. Include photos, if available. After your release appears in your local publication, please send a copy to Emily at OSSBA.
Letter to the Editor:
The “Letters to the Editor” section is one of the best-read parts of your newspaper. In a short cover memo, tell the editor you’d like your letter to be considered for publication in the “Letters to the Editor” section of your newspaper. Send your request at least two weeks in advance of your requested publication date. Use the enclosed sample letter to let readers know it’s School Board Recognition Month and to send a positive message about public education and your district’s accomplishments. Ask a parent, booster or business partner to sign the letter.
Radio Public Service Announcement:
Contact local radio stations a minimum of two weeks in advance of School Board Recognition Month to arrange the announcing and placement of your public service announcement (PSA). Use the sample radio scripts enclosed. Be sure to fill in the blanks to uniquely identify your school district.
The article can be adapted for use in your district newsletter, as an article in your local newspaper, as a letter to the editor or as the foundation of a speech.
Education Quotes Sheet:
The enclosed quotes, from a variety of sources, may be used in preparing remarks or gifts for School Board Recognition Month. A few ideas for using the quotes are included on the tips sheet.
For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact: Dr. Harold Hayes, Superintendent
Eldorado Public Schools at 580-633-2219
SCHOOL BOARD LEADERS HONORED IN JANUARY
“School Boards Make a World of Difference”
School Board Recognition Month, in January, is celebrated by Career Tech and local school districts in Oklahoma, as over 2700 elected school board members are honored by their schools and communities for untiring dedication to school governance.
“The foundation of school leadership is ensuring equal learning opportunities for all students,” says Dr. Harold Hayes, Superintendent of Eldorado Public Schools. “The Eldorado community, parents as well as faculty and staff are proud of our district, and School Board Recognition Month is the time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our elected trustees.” The theme for the 2011-2012 school year is T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More.
School board members come from all walks of life. They are farmers, secretaries, doctors, lawyers, homemakers, architects, truck drivers, professors, business owners and real estate agents, to name a few.
As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. All Oklahoma citizens should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the crucial role these elected public officials play in the education of our children.
Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. That job entails an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make.
Eldorado Public School board members are charged with developing policies and making at times very critical decisions on various complex educational issues impacting the entire Eldorado community. They bear responsibility in conjunction with the Superintendent of Schools for an annual budget of $1,384,348.00 million; 134 students PK-12; twenty five certified and support employees and four buildings located on the main campus as well as a district Agriculture Education complex.
“School board members preserve the core of our democracy and public education,” notes Dr. Harold Hayes. The basic philosophy of the Eldorado Board of Education along with the administration and staff is simple, “Nothing we do for children of any age is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we as board members, administrators and educators do for each and every student is never wasted”.
Dr. Hayes further notes, “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever. To quote President John F. Kennedy, “ Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education”. Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.
As part of School Board Recognition Month, Eldorado Public Schools will be honoring the members of the Eldorado Board of Education with various activities including a dinner for board members and spouses along with other appreciation activities in their honor. The district hopes to post more information on the Eldorado Public Schools Web site at www.eldorado.k12.ok.us.
The men and women serving Eldorado Public Schools and their years of service are Mr. Tim Springs, who has 33 continuous years of service, Mr. Cory Robinson who has 6 years of service, Ms. Jackie Kenmore with 3 years of service, Mr. Kevin Hill with 3 years of service and Mr. Bryan Adams with 3 years of service.
Activities and Tips Sheet
Here’s a list of special activities you might wish to plan for your local school board members.
1) Reach out to everyone in your community—clergy, business partners, civic organizations and other elected officials.
2) Plan gifts and special presentations at the January board meeting.
3) Involve the media.
1) Reach out to everyone in your community:
★ Form a recognition month planning committee.
★ Plan a special reception at the January board meeting. Invite students and community members, as well as the media, city council members, Jaycees, Rotary, etc.
★ Ask local restaurants and grocery stores to help host the event.
★ Promote the event at all sporting and school events.
★ Hang invitations to the January board meeting (event) in bowling alleys, laundromats, fitness clubs, malls, grocery stores, public buildings, church lobbies, restaurants, children’s play areas — wherever you can reach a cross-section of your community.
★ Place messages on school marquees.
★ Seek endorsement and recognition for the school board from the chamber of commerce. The chamber is a leader in economic development and knows the value of a strong education system in attracting new industry and providing educated, skilled employees.
★ Encourage the city council, local chamber of commerce or PTA to pass a local “School Board Recognition” proclamation.
★ Invite legislators to attend a reception and “say a few words” in appreciation.
★ Publish a brochure with photographs of board members giving their background, years of service, committee assignments, accomplishments, etc. for use at civic meetings.
★ Ask your community’s civic and business clubs (Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce) to host your board at a breakfast or lunch.
★ Arrange a speaking engagement at a loc4al service or civic club to explain the school board’s role and how public education is governed.
★ Ask the PTA or students to place a “thank you” ad in the local newspaper.
★ Invite community members to serve on event planning committees.
★ Ask schools to “adopt a board member” and sponsor events for the adoptee throughout the month or year.
★ Ask faith organizations to put an announcement in their bulletins, newsletters, etc. and send a news release.
2) Plan gifts and special presentations at the January board meeting:
★ Ask the superintendent to present to each board member the certificates of appreciation available from OSSBA.
★ Invite board members to lunch. Have them sit with teachers or some other student group.
★ Present board members with a free pass to school activities throughout the month of January.
★ Hang a “School Board Recognition Month” banner and/or poster in public places.
★ Ask elementary children or high school graphic design students to color and decorate “School Board Recognition Month” posters for downtown store windows.
★ Every day, for the first week of January, e-mail an inspirational education-related quote, using the enclosed education quotes.
★ Introduce a student and a staff member from each grade or department who represents a different culture in your community.
★ Ask staff to say a few words on behalf of their work group–teachers, cooks, bus drivers, school secretaries, etc.
★ Ask student athletic team captains to invite board members to “toss the first ball” or “blow the first whistle” at a home sporting event or to kick off a competitive academic event.
★ Hold contests to design a recognition month logo or flag.
★ Decorate entrances to school buildings.
★ Hang student drawings or self-portraits in the boardroom.
★ Ask students to write hand written notes of appreciation.
★ Feature student entertainment at the board meeting.
★ Ask each school in your district to be responsible for doing something special for one of your board members.
★ Donate a book or set of books to the school library, dedicated to the board, and include board members’ names and dates of service on a recognition label within each book.
★ Plan for a school board commendation at a staff in-service meeting or meeting of school and district administrators.
★ Hold mock school board meetings and elections in high school government and speech/debate classes. Invite board members.
★ Give special recognition to school board members with lengthy service records.
3.) Involve the media:
★ Send a press release on School Board Recognition Month (sample enclosed).
★ Send a letter to the editor (sample enclosed).
★ Ask your local radio station to run a public service announcement (sample enclosed).
★ Ask a student or the school Webmaster to design a School Board Recognition Month ad for your district’s Web page (use enclosed artwork for scanning).
★ Encourage your local news media (newspapers, radio stations and television stations) to interview school board members.
★ Provide media representatives with information about what the board does, the major decisions facing your board, important actions the board has taken and the tremendous amount of time each board member devotes to your public schools.
★ Schools with access to a district cable TV channel can use their time to conduct interviews with school board members and have informal talks on board service. Utilize students as interviewers and technical help.
Sample Letter to the Editor
The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month—a time to salute the work of school board members and celebrate public education.
The theme of this year’s celebration, “School Boards Make A World of Difference,” reflects our combined commitment to leadership and accountability assuring that ALL children succeed.
In (your district’s name), school board members must develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues impacting the entire community. They bear responsibility for an annual budget of $________ million, ________ students, ________ employees and ________ buildings. They carry out the truest form of representative government in our democracy—volunteer public service and preserve the core of our democratic land—public education.
Too often we neglect to recognize the dedication and hard work of these men and women who represent us. I invite you to recognize and celebrate the work of your school board members. Invite them out for coffee. Ask how you might help support your local neighborhood schools. Drop off cookies at January’s board meeting. Write your school board members a thank you note. Let them know you appreciate what they do for kids in (your district’s name).
The men and women serving (school district’s name) and their years of service are: (list names of board members and years of service)
(Name of Superintendent)
(Name of School District)
The following article can be adapted for use in your district newsletter, as an article in your local newspaper, as a letter to the editor or as the foundation of a speech. Localize the article by adding information about your schools trustees, details of how board members will be honored during January and examples of ways your board has improved education for the students in your district.
Although they wear many hats in the workday world, school board members put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school districts. Board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal—helping students achieve. Though they may individually disagree on certain issues, their role as a board is to consistently strive toward that goal.
Board members contribute hundreds and hundreds of hours each year leading their districts. Whether it be crafting policies, hiring top-notch administrators, listening to staff and student concerns or recognizing outstanding programs, board members always keep their eyes on the goal of student achievement.
The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members spend leading in their districts. They also work hard at seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are deeply involved in community activities and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. Their love for learning, and concern and caring for students, staff and community, drives board members’ desire to lead so students can achieve.
In recognition of the dedicated service, January is designated School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to provide a better future for our children. In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools. Make a special effort to tell each school board member that his or her hard work has been noticed and is truly appreciated.
Sample Public Service Announcement
For Further Information Contact: (Your Name & Title)
(Your School District) (Your Phone Number)
“School Boards Make A World of Difference”
THANK YOU ANNOUNCEMENT (15 seconds)
The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month—a good time to salute the work of school board members and celebrate public education. Tell your locally elected trustees you appreciate what they do for kids in (your district’s name).
A message from (radio station) and (name of school or organization).
CELEBRATE ANNOUNCEMENT (30 seconds)
The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month—a good time to salute the work of school board members and celebrate public education.
Your locally elected trustees in (your district’s name) public schools help children think, work, solve problems and more. Their decisions and actions affect the present and future lives of our community’s children.
Join us in celebrating School Board Recognition Month in (your district’s name).
A message from (radio station) and (name of school or organization).
Education Quotes to Use During School Board Recognition Month
“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.”
--Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
—William Butler Yeats
“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
“There is a place in America to take a stand: it is public education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground. Public education after all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common destiny...It is in public education that the American dream begins to take shape.”
“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.”
—John F. Kennedy
“As a product of the public education system, I want all American students to have what I had—access to a quality education that enables them to pursue any career they wish, and take on any challenge they choose. Giving our students the best education in the world is a moral imperative and, especially, an economic necessity.”
—Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”
A man with little learning is like the frog who thinks its puddle a great sea.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”