Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Engaging student board members

One of the most fulfilling responsibilities of a board member is building and encouraging leadership in our students. We model leadership at our board meetings through the way we present ourselves and the way in which business is conducted. Respectful discourse is important to model for all stakeholders — especially for our students. Many county and district boards have student board members. When we examine their role, are we doing all we can to engage with student board members and help them to develop their role?

Questions for boards to consider:

  1. What is our onboarding procedure for students?
  2. What professional development opportunities do we provide our student board member(s)?
  3. How do we engage them during the meeting? Are we asking their opinion on agenda items?
  4. Have we explained the different parts of the agenda, and which items belong in each section of the agenda: Consent, Action and Informational items?
  5. In what ways do we show that we respect the student board member’s voice?
  6. How is the student board member communicating the collective student voice to the board?
  7. Do they understand their preferential vote and the implications of that vote?
  8. What committees do they serve on?
  9. What kind of reports and/or presentations are they providing for the board?
  10. What formal functions in the district are they invited to attend?

When our student board members reflect on their high school experience, they should note this time on the board as one that built their leadership skillset. There are many resources that can be used as a structure for engaging their learning, including Board Bylaw 9150. CSBA resources include a Student Board Member Institute at its Annual Education Conference and Trade Show and an article featuring interviews with today’s student board members in the fall 2020 issue of California Schools magazine.