View Complete Back Issues Here (current year)

Select top stories, Member Kudos and other articles are archived below.






DashBoard, Jan. 8, 2020

The National School Boards Association’s annual Advocacy Institute is designed to help participants develop a keen understanding of why effective advocacy requires strong collaboration across policy, media and judicial spectrums. This year, it will take place Feb. 2 – 4, 2020 in Washington D.C. at the Marriott Marquis. Michigan consistently has one of the largest delegations in attendance, last year tying with Texas for the largest!

Michigan’s families will be able to better navigate early childhood programs and services across Michigan with the help of a three-year $40.2 million federal grant, the Michigan Department of Education announced.

Preparing graduates, ensuring rapid improvement and closing equity gaps—these are the core priorities that serve as the foundation for the first phase of recommendations from the Launch Michigan coalition. Introduced as promised in mid-December 2019, the initial strategies are focused on what the coalition members see as the state’s most acute needs, particularly in the areas of early literacy and equitable funding.

DashBoard, Jan. 22, 2020

Can you imagine walking every single block in your community? If that doesn’t intimidate you (or you’ve already done it!), what about walking every single one of the 329,885 blocks in Michigan or the 11 million that there are in the country? U.S. Census Bureau employees have been getting in their steps over the past nine years in order to compile the most accurate mailing list possible for the 2020 Census. The importance of an accurate accounting of everyone living in the United States cannot be stressed enough as the results will resonant for the next 10 years, impacting everything from legislative representation to public education funding.

It is a basic principle of parliamentary procedure that the decision of the majority, voting at a properly called meeting, is the decision of the body as a whole. The members whose views did not prevail are bound to go along with the majority. This goes back deep in time, to the origins of our entire system of democratic governance.

MASB is pleased to announce a new Director for the Finance and Business Services Department, as well as a promotion in Communications, PR & Marketing.

“Be real and adjust your strategy according to honest results,” noted English cleric, writer and collector Charles Caleb Colton. The Michigan Department of Education is looking to do just that with its Top 10 in 10 strategic initiative four years after it launched in February 2016. To determine what adjustments are needed, an online survey was recently opened to collect feedback from the general public.

DashBoard, Feb. 5, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her second State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. Her speech was focused on four issue areas: roads, health care, jobs and education, and lasted just over a half-hour.

Seventy board members and superintendents from Michigan attended the 2020 National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. this past week. Second only to Texas, it was a strong showing of passionate and committed members representing their boards and public education in general. In all, more than 820 school board members from across the country descended on our nation’s Capitol to stand up for public education.

Richard “Rick” Burmeister Jr., President of the Saginaw Intermediate School District Board of Education, never thought to add attending the State of the Union address to his bucket list since it seemed to be such an unattainable goal. But he was able to check that box last night when he was selected as the guest of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.

DashBoard, Feb. 19, 2020

For the last 27 years, the SET SEG Foundation and MASB have partnered to give Education Excellence Awards to programs that show leadership in public education and a positive impact on the lives of students. The 10 recipients being recognized in 2020 were recently announced.

State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented the executive budget recommendations to the Legislature on Feb. 6, 2020 officially kicking off budget season. As stated in her press release, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget focuses on “increased funding for education and skill development, providing for the health and needs of working families, and protecting Michigan’s water.”

With the Governor’s budget proposal being released earlier this month, now is the perfect time to let your opinion be heard by contacting your state legislators with information on how it will impact your district. 

Almost 12,000 individuals provided feedback on the Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan through an open survey that closed on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. An initial review of the results at the Feb. 11, 2020 State Board of Education meeting noted that providing adequate and equitable funding, addressing the teacher shortage and providing quality instruction for all students were the top three issue areas respondents felt should be included as goals.

DashBoard, March 4, 2020

While there have been no reported cases in our state, the likelihood is increasing that the current public health issue known as COVID-19 could impact Michiganders. To help with communications and management, a number of resources, including those specific to school districts, have been introduced by both the federal and state governments, as well as several organizations.

The 2020 Census is quickly approaching and MASB is working with state and local officials to promote and educate the public about the importance of filling out the nine-question questionnaire. Why is it important to make sure that all Michigan residents are counted? The federal government uses the data to determine funding for critical education, health and housing programs. A complete count is vital to ensuring that our state receives the resources we need to serve our communities.

Ballots for Regions 1 and 2 positions on the MASB Board of Directors are due today by 1 p.m. The voting link was provided via email to your district's superintendent secretary.

DashBoard, March 18, 2020

How can we not talk about the coronavirus? COVID-19. Sixty-five cases in Michigan as of this writing. Schools shut down until at least April 5. Parents scrambling for safe childcare and trying to figure out their work situation. Social distancing and quarantines (and those who aren’t following the recommended guidelines). Store shelves gone bare. People profiteering off a pandemic by stockpiling supplies and selling them for an extreme markup. Businesses suffering. Lives lost. 

No action occurred yesterday on a bipartisan solution to keep school employees paid and forgive school districts for the days of education missed due to the ongoing school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Michigan Education Association, AFT Michigan, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators and Michigan Association of School Boards issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s adjournment without action on the issue:

Following is guidance regarding holding school board meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Association of School Boards is excited to announce that Megan McVittie, M.Ed. and Whitney Haughey, CMP have recently joined the Leadership Development and Executive Search Services Department.

By Ashleigh Draft and Charyn Hain, Varnum LLP
May a teacher talk with a class about her participation in a Black Lives Matter rally over the weekend? Or wear a button that supports a particular political candidate? What about this same type of speech outside the classroom? The 2020 election cycle will likely bring such questions into sharp relief and districts are well advised to tread with care due to the legally complicated and politically charged nature of these issues. 
VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.


DashBoard, April 1, 2020

Are you looking for a way to be more involved in your Association? Do you want to share your expertise and perspective statewide? Do you want to network and connect with your peers on important discussions that impact education? Serving on one of MASB’s committees may be the right opportunity for you.

The U.S. Congress recently agreed on a $2 trillion emergency supplemental spending bill called the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law shortly after it passed last week. The legislation contains $16.5 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund to assist states and school districts for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When I worked on my college newspaper, we did an annual April Fools’ Day edition filled with outlandish, entertaining, completely fabricated stories that were, in true AFD fashion, the exact opposite of the truth. If only our current reality were the worst, most elaborate April Fools’ joke we’ve ever heard.

The COVID-19 coronavirus has disrupted many things this spring, including the launch of the 2020 Census campaign. The census went live on March 12, only one day before Michigan’s schools were closed and only two weeks before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered residents to “stay home, stay safe, save lives.” Despite these setbacks, the campaign to encourage residents to fill out the census form continues.

Silver linings. Four syllables that might not mean as much to others have truly helped reframe my perspective during this historic pandemic we’re currently facing as a global population. At the end of the day, I have to reckon with the fact that I can only control so much, and I’ve attempted to lean more into those aspects rather than what I can’t control and let my body respond accordingly (this is hard coming from a very Type A control freak).

DashBoard, April 15, 2020

In the school board world, the last couple of weeks usually have been filled with activities like attending the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference (which was going to be so close this year in Chicago!); taking a spring break; starting the annual state assessment process for students; and holding a board meeting sitting next to each other in the same room as all of your district and public participants, among other activities.

Last Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order would be extended until April 30, 2020. She also announced some tightening of rules. You may still leave your home for necessities like obtaining food and medicine and to check on vulnerable family members, but she’s urging stores to limit the number of people inside and to rope off sections that are not considered to be necessities.

Congratulations to the more than 175 board members across the state who participated in the MASB Board Member Awards program in 2019.

DashBoard, April 29, 2020

On April 24, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay-at-home order through May 15, 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19, but with some significant lifting of restrictions on retailers and outdoor recreation.

The Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators is pleased to announce the selection of Tina Kerr, M.A., Ed.D. as its new Executive Director effective July 1, 2020.

The National School Boards Association, the leading advocate for public education, announced it has appointed Anna Maria Chávez as its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m finally starting to settle into some sense of routine in our current “normal.” That isn’t to say that my emotions still aren’t all over the place—happy, sad; frustrated, satisfied; anxious, a little less anxious; guilty, validated—they run the gamut at any given moment. We’re not so much in a place where FOMO (fear of missing out) is occurring, but more so FONH (fear of not happening).

That is quite an understatement. The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every aspect of our lives from closing schools, pushing people into unemployment, closing businesses, and creating volatility in the stock and bond markets. If your school district is considering bond issuance, what is the most effective strategy for turbulent times?

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.


DashBoard, May 13, 2020

Since our last newsletter on April 29, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state of emergency and the Stay Home, Stay Safe order until May 28, 2020. But in extending the Stay Home order, she also lifted a few more restrictions and laid out her plan for reopening the state. Following the extension of the state of emergency, she also reissued a few other orders affecting schools.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently rescinded Executive Order No. 2020-35 by issuing Executive Order No. 2020-65. EO 2020-65 is essentially the same order as rescinded EO 2020-35, but it identifies additional sections from the Revised School Code, School Aid Act and other laws that are suspended and waived for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. EO 2020-65 also provides clarification on requirements for early childhood services and providing year-end performance evaluations under the Teachers’ Tenure Act.

The State Board of Education adopted a resolution urging Michigan’s Legislature and Congressional delegation to support—actively, individually and collectively—any bill to preserve educational services to Michigan schoolchildren that have been threatened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Building Healthy Communities program is a school-based initiative that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with tools to create a healthier school environment focused on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and addressing mental health and well-being while empowering children to make healthy choices.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

DashBoard, May 27, 2020

I’m writing this from my faux home office (also known as my kitchen table), where I’m self-quarantining and social distancing. As someone who doesn’t stay still for long, this has been challenging, but I’m happy to be doing my part for our local, state and global communities during this historic time. As I was searching for creative ways to help more, I remembered that through my work with MASB, I’m actually contributing to the greater good through a ripple effect. My small actions and day-to-day work reach beyond my kitchen table to help school boards provide access for students across the state to a public education.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Michigan’s economy has struggled significantly, leading to budget shortfalls. Recent projections have shown state revenue to be down by more than $3 billion than earlier anticipated for the current fiscal year. The School Aid Fund is down more than $1 billion for the current fiscal year and another $1 billion for 2020-2021. There is tremendous pressure on the State Legislature to make deep cuts that will lead to pressure on local and intermediate school boards.

While interviewing Michigan public school districts for the learning from a distance article that is in the Spring 2020 LeaderBoard issue, they shared information on a variety of topics. One that I found particularly interesting was whether they would offer a credit/no credit option or continue with letter grading for their students.

DashBoard, June 10, 2020

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the members of the Return to School Advisory Council. This council was created through Executive Order 2020-88, which was issued on May 15, 2020. More than 1,700 applications were submitted for the 25-person council. The advisory council is tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education with recommendations on how to safely, equitably and efficiently return to school in the fall.

The State Board of Education meeting yesterday included the adoption of a Resolution to Eradicate Racism and Create More Equitable and Inclusive Schools for Black Children/All Children and a review of the proposed updates to what has been known as the Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan to incorporate metrics.

Michigan’s efforts to ensure all residents fill out the 2020 Census continue. Despite early setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan residents are responding at an impressive rate. Currently, Michigan ranks fifth overall in the country with a completion rate of more than 65%, according to a presentation from the Michigan Census Office. This is well ahead of the pace from 2010 with several activities having led to this success.

Education and school leaders are facing uncertain times. No matter how many issues come forward I have found, for schools, it always comes down to teaching and learning. Teachers teaching and students learning. Teachers helping students be successful.

DashBoard, June 24, 2020

If you are up for re-election or have any open seats on your board for this cycle, don’t forget to reference MASB’s Get On Board resources to do everything you can to avoid any vacancies as of the July 21 filing deadline.

Maintaining school board excellence in governance is an important concern for any community. Lay the groundwork for an effective school board candidate recruitment strategy by considering the following.

On June 17, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in-person school instruction may go forward in the fall with strict, mandatory health and safety protocols that will be defined in a “Return to School Roadmap.” We expect that Roadmap to be released on or around June 30, 2020 and it will align closely with the MI Safe Start Plan. Additionally, House and Senate Republicans released an outline of a plan of their own yesterday.

The Michigan Association of School Boards is excited to announce that Jayson Larner and Cindy Holmes have recently joined our staff in the Information Technology and Leadership Development and Executive Search Services Departments, respectively.

The 2020-2021 school year has yet to begin, but the response to COVID-19 has already exhausted a tremendous amount of time and effort as public school leaders find ways to balance safety with a productive learning experience. Taking action in four key areas can help districts navigate their new normal as they continue operations through the summer and prepare for an extraordinary school year in the fall.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

DashBoard, July 8, 2020

Yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, J.D. and State Superintendent Michael Rice, Ph.D. announced the filing of a lawsuit against Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education for inconsistent guidance around the distribution of CARES Act funds to public and private schools. This has been done in partnership with the states of California, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

On June 30, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s 2020-2021 Return to School Roadmap. This document is the result of the work by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force on Education and the Return to School Advisory Council. It contains guidance for districts to create plans to return to in-person instruction this fall. The Governor also issued Executive Order 2020-142, which speaks to how to create a “Preparedness Plan” and the suggested timeline. 

More than 1.5 million Michigan schoolchildren enrolled in public schools depend on school board members who understand the importance of public education and are willing to serve their communities and sit in trust for those interests.