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After two years, school board members from across the country finally gather in person in San Diego in April. The NSBA 2022 Annual Conference is the one national event that brings together education leaders to learn about best governance practices, gain insight into child development, and learn about new programs and technology that can help enrich student learning. NSBA 2022 is one of the few—if not the only—places where school board members from around the country can receive the training necessary to address the instructional needs of students and to improve the efficiency of district operations. 

Here is a preview of some of the events and offerings at the conference. There is still time to register. Go to

Experiential learning visits offer a rare opportunity to explore education in practice. Two San Diego area site visits are planned. Each visit is scheduled for Friday, April 1.

The Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) is hosting “Empowering Students for Life Beyond the Classroom: Student Success in Action at Cajon Valley Union School District.” Education leaders will visit multiple school sites. CVUSD is a public school district of 28 schools with 16,000 students and has been advancing 1:1 technology for eight years across all grades. The district serves a wide geographic footprint of 66.3 square miles, located 15 miles east of downtown San Diego. Cajon serves a diverse community of learners, with 71 percent of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, learning to speak English, or in the foster care system.

Join the superintendent, board members, staff, and students to learn about the development and implementation of the modern curriculum. Hear how the district is integrating informal learning, career development, social and emotional learning, family and community engagement, and blended and personalized learning to accomplish the district vision of developing students who are engaged in healthy relationships and on a path to gainful employment.

The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego is hosting “Creating Cultures of Innovation in Your School and District.” Experience the latest in education innovation and technology by engaging in hands-on learning. Throughout the day, participants will explore the Innovation Lab and experience creative ways to integrate emerging educational trends such as

  • Creating cultures of innovation and STEAM in today’s schools
  • Recognizing future possible selves and innovator’s mindset
  • Identifying and understanding global competencies
  • Engaging in social innovation, design thinking
  • Experiencing virtual reality and immersive learning
  •  Learning about visuospatial learning and research

Network and get new ideas on how to build a culture of innovation in your district.

Ken Kay and Suzie Boss will highlight strategies to accelerate school transformation in two sessions. Their focus for a half-day preconference institute on April 1 is “Redefining Student Success.” That’s also the title of their new book, which draws on interviews with more than 250 education leaders who are engaging their communities in defining and implementing new visions of student outcomes to prepare them for 21st century challenges and opportunities. In their interactive session, Kay and Boss will share field-tested, practical tools that school systems can use in collaboration with their communities. Participants will develop their own set of action steps to take home to their communities (along with a copy of the book, which includes a discussion guide for book study). 

Later in the conference, Kay and Boss will focus specifically on community engagement in a breakout session called “How to Talk to Your Community about Student Achievement and Accountability.” These can be tricky topics to navigate, particularly as schools continue to grapple with the pandemic and political polarization. To support their efforts, participants will receive copies of discussion guides, in both English and Spanish, designed to engage parents and students in productive conversations about why and how education is changing. They will also hear from a school board member and superintendent from Val Verde, California, who are building community in partnerships that put students on new and exciting pathways to the future. 

“This is the time for school boards and their communities to be redefining student success to secure their student’s futures,” says Kay. “For the hundreds of communities around the country that have undertaken this process, this has been a positive, constructive and unifying conversation that has pulled their community together around a vision of the future. I strongly believe that is an important process for every school board to consider undertaking.”

Finding the right staff to move school improvement efforts forward can be a challenge. Amy Holcomb will lead a preconference session on Friday, April 1, “Strategic Talent Leadership: The Silver Bullet of School Improvement Strategies.”

Holcombe has spent most of her career designing and leading innovative human capital initiatives for educators. During her 25 years in K-12 public education, she developed North Carolina’s very first in-district licensure program for teachers which has, to date, licensed over 600 educators. Through strategic partnerships with HBCUs and nonprofit education organizations, Holcombe helped a large urban district achieve 100 percent staffing on the first day of school for 12 consecutive years, resulting in an increase in the percentage of underrepresented teachers and principals across the district. 

Her work with teacher quality, differentiated compensation systems, working conditions, and school improvement initiatives driven by human capital strategies has had significant positive impacts on student outcomes. She regularly shares her evidence-based belief that the best school improvement strategy is a strong human capital strategy. In her preconference workshop and session during conference, participants will learn about the research behind highly effective practices in the field of human capital that yield improved outcomes for students.  

Leading for the Future: Connecting Future Thinking to Change in the Present. We all make assumptions about what the future will be like. Often without realizing it, we assume it will unfold in a predictable and linear way. By doing that, we limit our creative and innovative leadership capacity. Futures thinking enables us to examine our assumptions about the future and better understand how the changes that are happening today could affect our communities years from now. Join us to learn to use futures thinking tools, a thought network framework for relationship building, and policy advocacy tools to pursue your vision for the future of education.

Becoming More Engaged & Inclusive Educational Leaders: Strategies for Supporting Our LGBTQ Students. Given the importance and impact that diversity and equity issues play in the lives of students, it is imperative that school boards are prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners, such as LGBTQ students. There are key considerations for effectively supporting LGBTQ students that educators must be aware of. This preconference workshop features a highly customizable and interactive diversity and equity training that helps educators and school board members develop the competency necessary to support LGBTQ students.

If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, How Do You Know if You Got There? Learn how the Association of Alaska School Boards helps districts develop a strategic plan, set a vision and mission for the district, examine data, and monitor progress to ensure time and resources are focused on student achievement and moving the district forward. Attendees will identify ways they can apply lessons learned in their own district’s strategic planning process.

Understanding the Key Work of School Boards. In today’s high-stakes educational environment, the daily pressure on governance leaders is enormous. The more effective the board, the better a school district’s students perform. The Key Work of School Boards provides a framework that reflects “best governance practices” that are traceable to high-performing boards and high-performing school districts. This session provides an overview of a relevant and reliable governance guide with strategies and ideas that reflect board best practices. You’ll explore the five Key Work action areas. The book is included.

Equity in Schools: A Different Lens for School Boards. For 150 years, schools have aimed to be a gateway to the American Dream. When discussing equity, people often focus on race, gender, community norms, and poverty. In our calls for equity, there are substantial differences in how we define the term. To work for collective action, we have developed shared metrics and measures to guide you in aligning your policies, procedures, practices, and plans into a new way forward.

Sharing the Magic: Storytelling for Leaders. Great leaders and communicators are also great storytellers. Learn how to tell the story of your school district and community in compelling stories that engage, motivate, influence, and expand your leadership abilities. Learn how to become a powerful storyteller to share the news of the great work going on in your district. You will leave the session with powerful stories that you can immediately begin sharing back home.

Around NSBA

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2023 Magna Awards Grand Prize Winners

School districts rethink and reinvent education for their students, staff, and communities.