For the fifth year in a row, applications have increased to the Boards of Distinction program organized by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). This year, 37 school boards applied compared to 34 last year.
“Awarded or not, for a board to go through this exercise of reviewing their decision-making and looking at how that is tied to positive outcomes in a school district is extremely valuable work,” said Tricia Lubach, WSSDA’s director of leadership development. “In my book, that’s already a win for students, so I highly commend every single board that applied to the Boards of Distinction program.”
The Boards of Distinction program is designed to encourage boards to examine their practices as governing bodies and how their actions and decisions impact the success of students. National research on the Washington State School Board Standards shows a correlation between board actions and student outcomes. Those recognized as Boards of Distinction have reviewed their decision-making and shown how that is tied to positive student outcomes.
Boards are also asked to demonstrate their actions and results in efforts to close opportunity gaps. Being selected as a Board of Distinction requires that boards show a clear link between their leadership and closing gaps that impact student success.
A panel of 10 judges spent approximately six to eight hours each, not only reviewing applications but also working together with WSSDA staff to calibrate with each other on how applications are evaluated. Judges from across the state included former and current Educational Service District superintendents, State Board of Education board members, former school directors, and others who are involved in education leadership on a statewide level.
“We’re extremely fortunate and grateful that experienced leaders from among our educational partners give us the benefit of their time and experience to make this program a success,” said Tim Garchow, WSSDA executive director.
All applicants are evaluated within one of three categories, small, medium and large school districts according to enrollment. One board in each category will receive further recognition as a Board of the Year at WSSDA’s annual conference in November.
West Valley (Yakima)