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What Urban School Boards Do?

principal talking with students

Houston ISD/Dave Einsel: www.houstonisd.org

Urban School Boards Are Key to America’s Future

Urban school boards shoulder an immense responsibility—it falls upon them to educate many of the nation’s high-needs and historically underserved children. Although many urban students are academically successful, some struggle to overcome serious obstacles to learning The presence of poverty, socio-economic challenges, high dropout rates, and dependency on free and reduced meals are challenges that can hinder the success of underrepresented students.

Urban school boards are dedicated to meeting the needs of all these children. These school leaders are determined to help every child overcome any challenge that poses an obstacle to learning and later success in life.

How Urban Schools Meet That Challenge

Urban school boards are uniquely qualified to meet the challenge of educating urban children. They know what needs to be done. Among the many strategies they pursue:

  • Urban school boards strive to expand preschool and early intervention programs to ensure that all children enter school ready to learn.
  • Urban school boards focus on the whole child. No one puts a higher priority on “wraparound services” that respond to any medical, mental health, social, or family issue that creates an obstacle to learning.
  • Urban school boards are dedicated to equality and equity. They adopt policies with the goal of seeing every child succeed academically, particularly those children who historically have been underserved.
  • Urban school boards partner with religious organizations, charities, civic groups, and local government agencies to rally community resources to meet the needs of students and their families.
  • Urban school boards put a priority on parental and community engagement, with the goal of supporting parents and families in need and rallying community resources to help students.
  • Urban school boards strive  to ensure English proficiency for all students who are English language learners.
  • Urban school boards support the superintendent’s hiring of teachers who are dedicated to working in an urban setting Urban school boards ensure that teachers receive training and support they need to be successful educating all students..
  • Urban school boards are diligent about their own professional development, so that their board members are well prepared for the immense challenges and complexities of policymaking in an urban school district.
  • Urban school boards collaborate with their state school boards association, NSBA, and CUBE. They tap the resources of these organizations and seek out the best practices and solutions that other urban school districts have discovered.
  • Urban school boards serve as responsible trustees of the local schools. As community members themselves, school board members truly understand the values and goals of their community when it comes to local schoolchildren—and they are best qualified to provide oversight and policies for the school system.

If America is to prosper in the years ahead, it must educate all its children for the challenges of a 21st century global economy. The nation simply cannot afford to allow the potential of millions of urban children to go unmet, no matter how great the obstacles to learning that confront these students.

Urban school boards understand this critical need for all urban children to succeed, and no one is better prepared or more dedicated to meeting this challenge.

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