county boards
County Perspective
Advocacy, school climate in the spotlight at County Boards conference
Advocacy for school equity, youth trends, transgender rights and school safety were among the highlights of the California County Boards of Education conference in September.

Nearly 200 county trustees from across California traveled to Monterey to take part and sharpen their leadership skills, network and gain insights on the latest education and legislative issues.

With the theme of “Empower Board Members — The How Tos,” the conference provided guidance on:

  • Advocating for local control, and Full and Fair Funding of the state’s public schools
  • Boosting achievement through leveraging the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control and
  • Accountability Plans
  • Authorizing charter schools and the role of the county board
  • Navigating the different roles and best practices between county boards and county superintendents
  • Ensuring safety and secure campuses

Several conference sessions were especially topical. With the latest state assessments showing mostly flat standardized test scores, especially among some student groups, the Advocacy with an Equity Lens workshop highlighted the importance of raising awareness of equity issues as foundational to student success. The Latest Trends Among the Young session centered on school climate issues as another way to boost achievement. The Transgender Rights and Legal Rights session discussed how school districts can best protect transgendered students amid a shifting legal climate and changing social norms. More broadly, campus safety for all students was the theme of the final session of the conference. Tim Makris, founder and managing director of school safety organization the Sandy Hook Promise, shared tips on how to address school violence before it happens. Other topical sessions at this year’s conference included an overview of the political landscape as it impacts schools, and new laws and policies to address sexual harassment and assault.

“We know that starting and sustaining a dialogue on the importance of education with state decision-makers, local community members and parents is key to the success of our students,” said CCBE Vice President Sherman Garnett. “With this thought in mind, the conference specifically sought presentations that highlighted best practices, engaged county board members and superintendents, and provided practical tools and replicable models.”