The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is proud to announce the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) as the recipient of the NSBA 2020 Leading Edge Award for its Continuous Strategic Improvement (CSI) process. The CSI process engages all stakeholders to create an intentional shared vision with the community’s ownership and provides support throughout the entire process.

The NSBA Leading Edge Award acknowledges state school boards associations for the innovative design and implementation of integrated projects that promote and advance public education within their state. OSSBA drew inspiration from the Georgia School Boards Association — the 2019 NSBA Leading Edge Award recipient — while creating the CSI process.

“As stewards of their communities, school boards must unite all stakeholders through a powerful, shared vision,” says NSBA President Charlie Wilson. “The CSI process developed by OSSBA provides an invaluable resource to the school districts in Oklahoma by helping them accomplish this necessary task. We recognize OSSBA’s excellent leadership by awarding the association the NSBA 2020 Leading Edge Award.”

During a year-long visioning process in 2014, OSSBA recommended that Oklahoma’s school boards work with local stakeholders to develop a unified vision for their district. Many school boards had the desire to implement this suggestion but lacked the resources, capacity, and experience. In response, OSSBA engaged the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal at the University of Oklahoma to help school leaders expand their imagination of public education and then make those dreams a reality.

“The most impactful thing we can do for our school boards and school districts is help them facilitate the process for fulfilling their mission. Their mission is educating students,” says OSSBA Executive Director Dr. Shawn Hime. “We did that by creating a process for them to facilitate the creation of goals and vision, and help them create a plan to realize the vision of what they want education to look like for the students in their communities.”

Clinton Public Schools is one of the 21 districts that has participated in the CSI process. The meetings and roundtable discussions with community members gave the board essential information it didn’t have before.

“This is not an easy thing for school districts to do because you have to open up and get input,” says Clinton School Board member Floyd Simon Jr., who also serves on OSSBA’s board of directors and is a member of NSBA’s board of directors. “But I think, as we know in education and in society as a whole, we can only improve when we have open conversations.”

As the recipient of the NSBA 2020 Leading Edge Award, OSSBA is featured in the American School Board Journal's October issue. The story offers insight into the CSI process and includes an informative video of the CSI process in action. For more information, including completed district plans, visit OSSBA’s CSI webpage.

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