Tuesday 22 Aug, 2017

Get Your School Board on Board

Bobby is a Principal with a background in History and Social Studies. He first traveled with EF Tours in 2010 to Rome and Paris, and now leads a student tour every summer. He believes that young people should experience life outside of their communities, and that understanding other cultures is imperative to solving global challenges.

Deciding to travel with EF is a wonderful responsibility for any teacher, but before you choose one of EF’s many educational tours, you should first consider whether or not the trip will be affiliated with your school. While some Group Leaders choose to organize their tour outside of school, I personally wanted to make ours an extracurricular school affiliated program. With that in mind, I needed to approach our school board for permission. While the idea can seem intimidating at first, your EF Tour Consultant will provide you with invaluable information, and will assist you throughout the process. Along with their help, I quickly realized what was required to gain approval. Here are four tips that may help you get your school board’s approval.


Develop a plan of action
The outcome of most meetings is often determined by the planning and preparation that takes place beforehand. Approaching school administrators and the school board is no different. Be ready to answer any and all questions your principal might ask. What are the safety precautions set in place? Are the tours educational and do they fit our school’s mission and student curriculum? Prepare answers to these questions in advance and approach your principal with both confidence and excitement.

Schedule a meeting with school administration for initial approval
Before meeting with the school board your first step should be to approach your principal or direct supervisor for their approval. Failing to follow the proper chain of communication could result in an internal conflict and cause problems with gaining approval. Your principal will also be able to give you advice on how to successfully present your idea to the school board.

Request that your proposal be placed on the school board’s agenda
After receiving your principal’s approval you should submit a formally written request to your superintendent asking to be placed on the next school board meeting agenda. In some cases your principal may do this for you. Keep in mind that school boards typically only meet once a month, so if time is of the essence then you need to act quickly. Most state laws require agendas to be posted publically 24 hours before the meeting, so don’t expect to be added to the agenda the day of. Be proactive and plan ahead.

Knock their socks off!
You should arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the meeting starts. This will give you time to casually visit with some of the board members. When entering the meeting you will be given a copy of the agenda, or one will be posted. Find your place on the agenda and be ready when your name is called. If you plan on using a slideshow or video keep it brief and check what audio/visual equipment is available ahead of time. Again, be prepared to answer any and all questions that might be thrown your way, and most importantly, relax…While it can be intimidating to speak in front of the school board, you are there so that you can provide a unique and incredible educational experience for your students.

Looking for additional advice? Speak with your Tour Consultant today.