Year in Review 2021


We believe

each student should have access to an excellent and equitable public education where they live, governed by high-performing school board leaders. We believe in supporting historically disadvantaged students, prioritizing local control, remaining nonpartisan, and recognizing the importance of parental and community involvement.

in Action

Federal Advocacy

NSBA is the Federation’s voice in Washington, D.C., advocating for public education, our members, and the school leaders and children they represent.

This year, federal advocacy efforts were dominated by the pandemic, as well as working to guarantee access, equity, and innovation for each child in every school.

NSBA contributed to advocacy efforts resulting in billions of dollars in additional funding for public schools to help with the impact of the pandemic.

Federal Advocacy Highlights

  • $122.8 billion for K-12 public schools in the American Rescue Plan and $3 billion for IDEA.
  • $7 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help connect students to broadband and close the Homework Gap.
  • Legislative briefings and information for numerous state association meetings and advocacy initiatives, in addition to regular services for the Conference of State Association Legislative Staff (CSALS).

New Legal Guides

  • Operating Schools in the Pandemic Era
  • COVID-19 Vaccination and Schools
  • Q&A for Executive Order on the Decennial Census
  • Q&A for Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities
  • Q&A for Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Additional Legal Highlights

Support for State Associations

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NSBA briefed state association members on key legal cases, new COVID funding statutes and regulatory changes, and other issues impacting public schools.

13 Amicus Briefs Filed

U.S. Supreme court
6 Briefs

U.S. Courts of Appeals
4 Briefs

18 State Associations
Joined NSBA Amicus Briefs

State Supreme Court
2 Briefs

State Trial Court
1 Brief

National School Boards Action Center

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1,236 Advocates

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Over 13,000 visits to the NSBAC website

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Over 1 million people reached with targeted
social media campaign

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2,673 messages to Congress from NSBAC Calls to Action

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Over 2 million views on social media for the
Homework Gap campaign

Educational Equity

NSBA is committed to supporting policies that ensure educational equity for all public school children and providing training for school leaders on equity issues.

  • The Equity Department performed training sessions for 11 state school
    boards associations.
  • The Dismantling Institutional Racism in Education (DIRE) initiative provided training in 11 sessions for Board of Directors DIRE steering committee on equity issues.
  • NSBA joined a new coalition to help coordinate emergency relief funding to advance student success.

Four National Equity Councils

The four equity councils work to ensure that school board members are equipped to support the unique needs of historically disadvantaged children.


Webinars and Publications Include:


Kicked off a three-part webinar series with “Overcoming Challenges and Building Trust,” featuring NHC Board members highlighting how school board members can raise awareness of COVID-19 facts, challenges, and supports in Hispanic communities.

Actions for Equity

Reimagining School Board Leadership: Actions for Equity explores how school board members can set the tone and create policy so that all students receive the resources they need to graduate prepared for success after high school.

Actions for Equity

Research & Resources

American School Board Journal (ASBJ)

In 2021, NSBA’s award-winning print and digital magazine celebrated its 130th anniversary. ASBJ is the longest running national education magazine in the U.S. The publication offers readers practical advice on a broad range of topics through the lens of school board governance, including, equity, policy making, student achievement, and the art of school leadership.


NSBA’s monthly enewsletter provides information about new education approaches, perspectives on student development and policy ideas, and emerging trends impacting public education.

ASBJ Brief is distributed to more than 30,000 readers and celebrates open rates well above industry standards.

NatCon Daily

A daily morning executive e-news briefing that provides the latest news impacting education. NatCon Daily is an exclusive benefit to National Connection and CUBE districts.

AllAccess Daily

A daily news briefing curated from thousands of sources on the latest news impacting school safety.

NSBA’s Center for Public Education (CPE)

A national resource for NSBA members and public education advocates that supports the work of state associations by offering expert and timely research, data, and analysis of pressing education issues. Topics include:

How States Fund
Charter Schools

Homeless Students in U.S.
Public Schools

School Infrastructure
in Science Education

Vaccines and Face Mask Policies Across the States
50 States at a Glance

COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine Policies Across the States
50 States at a Glance

NSBA's Center for Safe Schools

Curated resources and a national forum for members and their school district leaders and staff, students, parents,
and communities.

The Center for Safe Schools Provides Critical
Resources and Best Practices in Four Key Areas:

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Crisis and Emergency Management

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Whole Child Health

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Cyber Security

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Webinars and Publications Include:

Making Connections to Improve Students Center for Safe Schools Newsletter

BuyBoard is a free-to-join national online purchasing cooperative developed to streamline the buying process for school districts, municipalities, and other public entities, while saving them time and money.

6% to 46% discount off MSRP for 10 commonly used public school contracts, resulting in a savings of nearly $5 million.

BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative


NSBA shines a national spotlight on the work of its state association members, school boards, individual board members, and others through its robust awards programs.

Magna 2021 Awards Winners lazy

The Magna Awards have honored school district innovation and creativity in raising student achievement and helping underserved and vulnerable students for more than 20 years. The Magna Awards 2021 Grand Prize winners were the Mashpee Public Schools, Mashpee, Massachusetts; Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine; and Detroit Public Schools, Detroit, Michigan.

The Detroit Public Schools’ Charles Drew Transition Center Horticulture Program is a year-round market garden program that provides educational, vocational, and life skills for students with special needs and fresh produce for the community.

Make It Happen! is Portland Public Schools’ college readiness program for high school multilingual and English learner students. The program helps students build competitive academic profiles for college admission and learn how to navigate and access financial aid.

Mashpee Public Schools created a formalized working partnership with the Wampanoag Tribe to create an inclusive district that recognizes and celebrates the tribe’s rich heritage and culture and advances academic growth and social emotional well-being of Wampanoag students through culture-based education principles and practices.

The CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence

Richland One in Columbia, South Carolina (photo on the left), and Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee (photo on the right), were acknowledged at the CUBE 2021 Annual Conference for their determined, successful, and ongoing efforts in school board governance, board performance, academic improvement, educational equity, and community engagement.

American Indian and Alaska Native Council of School Board Members (AIAN) Luminous Eagle Award

Rodney Schilt and David Snyder, two former National American Indian and Alaska Native Council of School Board Members (AIAN) committee chairs, received AIAN's 2021 Luminous Eagle recognition.

2021 Leading Edge Awards

The Leading Edge Award honors state school boards associations for their promotion and advancement of public education. Established in 2018, the recognition is awarded to associations that have designed and implemented innovative projects that provide needed services to support the work of local school boards.

2021 NSBA Leading Edge Award Video — Indiana School Boards Association

2021 NSBA Leading Edge Award Video — Virginia School Boards Association

and Connectivity

In 2021, we offered online and in-person signature experiences
that were ‘attended’ by thousands of public education advocates.

It’s been an honor to lead NSBA Federation efforts to create and nurture high-performing school leaders amidst an unprecedented year of challenges for our schools and organization.
2021-22 NSBA President Dr. Viola Garcia

and Social Media

Awareness of school boards increased throughout national and international media channels.

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Digital Divide
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NSBA and its members commented on a variety of issues in 2021, including the Mahanoy U.S. Supreme Court decision, school staffing challenges, pandemic-related funding for schools and school districts, the digital divide, and more.

New York Times
The Washington Post
USA Today
Fox News
The Wall Street Journal
LA Times
Education Week
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17 state associations
were connected through NSBA to media opportunities within their states.

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26,000 news outlets
mentioned NSBA for a total potential reach of 61.8 billion viewers across the country.

Pathways to the

Commitment to Member Success

The following principles will guide our work:

Equity and Excellence in Education

We will focus on common challenges facing school board members, including:

  • Support for historically disadvantaged students
  • Increasing broadband access to close the homework gap
  • Ensuring a highly qualified teacher in each classroom
  • Providing support for students with disabilities and mental health needs
  • Addressing learning loss due to the pandemic

Member Services

We will provide our members with trainings and other opportunities to learn and formalize their collective will on issues affecting our nation’s public schools; all services and opportunities will be tailored to members’ unique needs.

Parent/Family/Community Outreach

We will raise awareness about the important role that parents, families, and communities play in students’ success, and strengthen our relationships with leading family and community engagement organizations.


We will regularly assess, adjust,
and position our work and services
to ensure we’re meeting our members’ needs in alignment with our core purpose.

Message from 2021-22 NSBA President-elect Frank Henderson

I am invigorated by NSBA’s renewed commitment of support to its members, ensuring each student has access to an excellent and equitable public education.

This is only accomplished through engagement of high-performing school board leaders, students, and their families.

Frank Henderson