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Working with School & District Boards


Making changes at your school may relate to policy. And that means you’ll need to work directly with school and district board officials and administrators. Here are some tips and tools to help you connect to those who can influence change.


A school board is a group of elected representatives who create the plan for a school. They review policies, budgets and even how curriculum gets delivered to students. They are responsible for making sure schools follow state and federal guidelines for public education. School boards are also responsible for providing information and communication to parents/caretakers in their district.

The superintendent is responsible for implementing the plan that the school board makes.

Tips for engaging with schools, superintendents and districts:

  • Respect and follow the chain of command in the public school oversight structure.This means starting locally with teachers and principals first. If your local leadership doesn’t respond to your advocacy (or doesn’t have the authority to), then it’s time to take matters to your superintendent or school board.
  • Attend meetings – not just when you want to advocate your position. By attending meetings regularly, your school board will know that you care. They will come to recognize and trust you as a local school advocate and you will build better relationships by being present. Share the responsibility of attending meetings with other parents if you can’t make every meeting. Wear an Arts Ed Now sticker when you attend in person! (Order your own Arts Ed Now Printed Materials here)
  • Prepare your case before you approach your superintendent or school board. Think about the specific solution you want to see at your school. Gather relevant data to support your position (see Resources & Tools). Find examples of successful similar solutions. Use Google to search for “school policy victories” or other key words such as “advocates,” “school district meetings,” etc.
  • Prepare materials to present, send or leave behind. Streamline what you provide so it can be easily absorbed and remembered. Remember that they may be overloaded with other daily work responsibilities and need direct information to cut through the clutter. Consider a student presentation at a board meeting to keep members up to date on arts education programs.
  • Stay calm and professional. Emotions can run high when it comes to our children’s education and future. Board members respond better to presentations that are rational and engaging – as opposed to confrontational. You may need to be strong in your position, but never lose your cool. Remember: school board members are often parents who have students in the district too.
  • Keep at it! Follow-up after meetings with your expectations to keep your issue on their radar. Be prepared to offer more information, answer questions or be ready to troubleshoot at each meeting until you see the results you want.
  • Want to have more input? Consider running for school board yourself!