An excellent education, access to the latest technology, and a passion for learning - this is what all parents want for their children.
Yet, parents are not the only ones in the community with a vested interest in their children's education. Community groups and athletic teams want to see their students achieve new heights of success, and the business community honors the role education plays in preparing students for the workforce and strengthening the local economy.
Local school board members across the country care about these same things, and as school board members, it is our responsibility to give students the best education possible. One of the best ways we can work toward that end is by educating ourselves.
Professional development opportunities on both the state and national level are where leadership begins for school board members.
At conferences and workshops, we have the opportunity to learn valuable information and skills that will be shared with the greater community and make our schools stronger. These ideas and strategies help improve our school district and inspire school innovation.
During these times of economic distress, when we are faced with tough choices in our budget, a school board professional development conference may not appear to be an educational priority, but our children benefit from board members attending. Too often, boards make decisions about school policy, finance, personnel, or curriculum without being full informed. These mistakes waste time and tax dollars - two resources that should not be taken for granted.
The cost of professional development pays off because what we learn at conferences and workshops has a lasting impact.
Conference attendance is a sound investment, allowing board members the opportunity to gain knowledge to develop better plans for students, teachers, and staff. At a conference exhibition hall, a school board member may discover a new software program that could save the district ten times more than the cost of attending the conference, making it an investment in our children's future and a wise budget decision.
Communities place trust in professions that work for their protection and best interests. The public expects doctors, lawyers, and teachers to continue learning about the latest innovations, the same. Professional development opportunities allow us to explore the educational field on a national level by learning from our peers all over the country.
Conferences introduce new strategies, but also allow school board members to look at local education issues form a national perspective.
Professional development conferences are where we learn about resources needed to make our district better and to strengthen student achievements by working with and learning form our peers in our state and nation. It is our responsibility to keep in mind how we can apply the strategies we learn directly to our schools, save our district money, and lead our district to academic success.
School board members are chosen by the community to set policies that affect our community's children - shouldn't we be armed with the best tools possible? Professional development and conferences give us these tools.
Frankie Mitchell is the District 9 representative of the Webster Parish School Board.