The school boards of Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh Public Schools, Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools, and Texas’ Lancaster Independent School District have been named recipients of the 2017 CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Awarded by the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE), the CUBE Award recognizes school boards that exhibit excellence in school board governance, academic improvement, educational equity, and community engagement.

“This year’s CUBE Award winners have demonstrated strong leadership and measurable success in providing urban schoolchildren with the finest public education possible,” said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Gentzel.

“Their success is an inspirational example of how local school boards, as education leaders in their communities, can make a difference in the lives of America’s schoolchildren.”

The Pittsburgh school board has been steadfast in its commitment to providing a safe and supportive school environment for immigrant and transgender students — and protecting them from the divisive and sometimes frightening public debate surrounding these children.

The board also has worked to promote academic excellence by expanding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education; promoting computer literacy, particularly among girls and minority students; and seeking alternative disciplinary practices to reduce the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of minority students.

In Shelby County Schools, which consolidated in 2013 with Memphis City Schools, the school board has expanded community engagement and literacy initiatives and implemented Key Performance Indicators to help the district leadership monitor the district’s effectiveness in meeting the academic, social, and safety needs of students.

The school board in Lancaster, Texas, has worked hard to recover from a period of troubled finances and leadership divisions seven years ago. As part of its turnover, the board has invested in board training, prioritized financial management, and worked to align its actions with research on high-performing school boards.

The result has been a more effective academic program, with a greater emphasis on STEM education; a strong early education program, and successful efforts to raise student academic performance and participation in Advanced Placement courses.

“In presenting these excellence awards, CUBE is not only celebrating the success of these school boards but providing the nation with a showcase of excellence and achievement in urban school district management, says Micah Ali, chair of the CUBE Steering Committee.

Each winning school district will receive a $2,500 award check to be used to help the school boards advance their goals, and their successful board practices will be featured in future articles in the Urban Advocate, CUBE’s quarterly feature in ASBJ Magazine, as well as highlighted at future CUBE conferences.

The CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Generation Ready.

Learn more about CUBE.

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