Why be a Member?

Timi Tullis, AASB Associate Executive Director

Recently, while speaking to a current superintendent, he said “AASB is like insurance; when things are going well you may wonder why pay the dues, BUT when there is an issue that involves the Board or policies the district is SO fortunate to have AASB there to assist during those difficult times.” I had never thought of us like that before but I concur. Membership with AASB can help during all times, but especially during challenging circumstances.    

During these tough budget times, we know that  some districts may question the value of their membership with AASB. If your board ever gets to that point, here are some great responses as to why it is vitally important to remain a member of our statewide organization!  

1. First and foremost Board Training! Board training is a vital part of your ongoing professional development as a board member. For almost half the boards in the state holding an annual board self-assessment and developing a board improvement plan, and/or goals for the year to come, allows those boards to stay focused on outcomes and their work.  Here is a list of some of what we could offer your board. For or a full list contact myself, Tiffany Jackson or Jenni Lefing! 

  • Board/Superintendent Relations 
  • How to run Effective Meetings 
  • Strategic Planning
  • Board Self Evaluations (with a resulting board improvement plan) 
  • Annual Board Priority Setting 
  • Parliamentary Procedures
  • Board’s Quasi-Judicial Role 
  • Data for School Boards 
  • Roles & Responsibilities of Governance

Each time we work with your board, members receive points toward their Boardsmanship Awards.

2.  Policy Services are one of the major services that AASB can offer to support your board. As a member of our service, we contract with legal council to draft new policies as laws change or are enacted. If your district had to pay for these services individually the attorney’s costs would be significant to each district, and through our policy membership we are able to share those costs. Our staff is here to help boards draft and maintain policies as well as assist with options to get and keep updated policies on line. We also offer Policy On Line options and policy update workshops.  

3.  Each November AASB holds its Annual Conference. The conference has pre-sessions for new members as well as experienced members. The conference is an opportunity for boards, superintendents and youth to interface with others around the state that share in the same responsibilities. During the conference members have the opportunity to attend sessions focused on board standards and listen to keynotes that engage the audience in topics of interest to districts. Lastly the fall conference is when the resolutions process is brought before the membership. The resolutions voted on and passed by the Delegate Assembly each year set the legislative course for the coming year. They provide direction to the advocacy team as they represent you in Juneau and Washington, D.C.

4.   Boardsmanship Academies are held in the fall, winter and spring to help board members gain a deeper understanding of issues that will aid them in doing their jobs better. Negotiations, Budgeting, Special Education, and Personnel are just a few of the issues that have been addressed in these Academies.

5.  Opportunities for youth are at the forefront of the work that AASB does. During the annual conference, the Youth Leadership Institute has been held for almost 30 years. Youth that attend walk away with a better sense of themselves as a leader as well as a better understanding of what school board members do to better schools in their district. At the Legislative Fly-In held in Juneau each year AASB offers the Youth Advocacy Institute where students have an opportunity to come and learn about the legislative process and with their board members conduct a visit to the hill for interaction with their representatives. Our work also supports Youth on Boards and last year we held our first ever session for those youth.  

6.  Each year AASB awards 15 scholarships to graduating seniors from member districts. The June Nelson Memorial Scholarship awards are currently valued at $1500 for the students that win and can be used for any needs associated with the cost of post secondary schooling.

7.  Publications that members receive from AASB are sent to keep board members updated on educational trends, state regulations, as well as articles on how to become better board members. The following is a list of publications that are produced by AASB.

  • The Session is sent out weekly when the legislature is convened.  
  • AASB Connect is a way to stay in touch with work alike groups within the association, board chairs, first time members, etc.  
  • Position Papers on specific legislation 
  • Lobbying Handbook 
  • AASB Commentary (monthly newsletter) 
  • AASB website provides a portal to information about school governance, the association, conditions for learning and other great resources
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr sites
  • Teacher Salary and Benefit Survey
  • Administrative Salary and Benefit Survey 
  • Classified Salary and Benefit Survey 
  • Webinar series for newly elected, first time board members
  • Ask AASB is an archive of frequently asked questions covering a range of board-related topics answered by our knowledgeable staff

8.  Members of AASB benefit from representation when lobbying with both the State Legislature and U.S. Congress. AASB also works closely with the State Board of Education & Early Development as well as State and Federal Agencies. You can also benefit from the work AASB does as a liaison with other educational organizations (i.e. ACSA, PTA, NEA, etc.)

9.  Through a number of grants, resources are made available for member districts to help fund conditions for learning efforts. Staff at AASB offer training opportunities to districts and communities on a variety of topics including Family Engagement, Social Emotional Learning, Trauma Informed Practices, School Climate and Connectedness and many other areas to assist with increasing student achievement.  

10.  The AASB ‘hot line’! We track the number of calls/emails we receive from districts each month. From board members, executive administrative assistants, superintendents, charter school and advisory boards, there is rarely a day that goes by without some consultation. Typically each month of the year we are contacted by well over 100 individuals from our member districts. Questions on policy, parliamentary procedure, superintendent evaluations, and board member seat opening, to name a few, but the list never ends.  

As budgets get tight it is always good to question the value of services and indeed membership to AASB continues to be worth the investment.