Standards Increase Outcomes

By Timi Tullis, AASB Director of Board Development and Field Services

When you are injured or sick, do you want to go to a doctor who aligns their work to standards of proper care, or a doctor who simply does what that s/he wants to do? In today’s world the word ‘standard’ can be perceived as negative, but in reality, standards are what guide any group to do the right things.

The education community is intimately familiar with standards. Standards for students have been around for many years in the form of grades, report cards and most recently many types of assessments. Likewise, teachers, administrators, and support personnel live by standards such as annual evaluations, classroom observations and peer monitoring. So why not school boards?

Think back, why did you run for your school board? Individuals consistently report they ran for their local board because they care deeply and want to do important things for children. Once elected, members volunteer hours to govern public schools properly and immediately are under a magnifying glass from citizens in their communities.

Statistics show that boards and their work have a direct impact on student achievement. For a board to be successful, it is critically important that they understand their governance and leadership roles and work to develop a positive team that allows the superintendent and staff to manage the district.

AASB’s Board Standards were developed in 1998 and were intended as a guide for school boards, as well as for individual school board members. A group of 25 educators and board members worked for two days and developed these five standards:


Along with the standards are indicators that can help boards measure their success in each standard. These are all listed on AASB’s website:

Board Standards

Holding ourselves and fellow board members accountable to AASB Standards will help boards improve the work they do on a daily basis. Boards need to be aware of and discuss their governance roles. Boards must respect and encourage their board team to ‘practice’ their roles as members of the team. And boards must have the courage to speak up when the performance of individuals or the board is not in alignment with the Standards.

Lastly, we do all this to make sure that we do the right things for children. The question we should always ask is, “Is the decision something that would be best for kids OR for the adults?”

AASB uses these standards to develop topics and guide Board development programming for the Association. The staff has developed a 3-year syllabus that ensures our members will be provided with information and skill training aligned to the Standards during their first term in office. Lastly, the “Alaska School Board Member Handbook” was designed around the Standards Framework and serves as a reference guide for members seeking information about their roles and responsibilities. This handbook is provided to every attendee at the Board Room Boot Camp held each year at the Annual Conference.

Over the coming year, you will hear a lot more about these Standards, as we will be integrating them into our workshop discussions. Visit the AASB website OR your district policies chapter 9000’s to read a bit more on AASB’s Standards that govern the work of your board.

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