"Waiting for Superman" toolkit

“Waiting for Superman,” a documentary film released nationwide in October 2010, focuses on educational challenges in five urban schools. These resources from the National School Boards Association will help board members and administrators discuss the film with their community.

A few cautions about shortening the school year or eliminating days

School districts should consider several issues before making the decision to offer a shortened school year either this year or next.

Absolute necessity: the rise of local education foundations

In this changing economic culture, public schools are having to look for funding outside the government sector. Local education foundations are becoming an increasingly significant source of support for public schools.

Academic Content Standards

Overview of the standards adopted by Oregon.

ADA Reasonable Accommodations for School Employees

ADA Reasonable Accommodations for School Employees: the Why, How, When and What If…

An example of coordinated school health in action

This is a story about a school that formed a Healthy Kids Learn Better Team made up of school administrators, staff and community partners. The team identified healthful eating and physical activity as key student health issues affecting student attendance and academic achievement.

An overview of the bond and local option election process

An overview of the election process for school districts, ESDs and community colleges.

Assessing student achievement

Information about Oregon's statewide assessment systems.

Avoid insurance problems early with joint committees

The usual strategy of “negotiated tradeoffs” isn’t the best way to plan health care benefits these days, especially when everyone should agree to share the burden of rising costs.

Board chair's authority

A description of the board chair's authority.

Board secretary

The board secretary provides the board with accurate records of meeting minutes, handles board correspondence, and posts all meetings.

Board’s removal of board member from vice president position ruled constitutional

A school board’s vote to remove one of its members as board vice president because of his public criticism of the superintendent was not prohibited by the first amendment.

Bond and local option election activities timelines

Organizational tool showing dates and recommendations for tasks to accomplish.

Bond and local option election data

Upcoming school district, ESD and community college bond and local option elections plus recent unofficial election results.

Bond and local option election resources

Resources for bond and local option elections, including campaign information. School district, ESD and community college bond and local option elections and results.

Bond election ballot title wording requirements

An overview of election ballot title wording requirements.

Budget committee process frequently asked questions

A quick overview of the budget committee process and frequently asked questions.

Budget survival toolkit

A compilation of resources to help you manage budget reductions and layoffs.

California certificated staff performance incentive

An explanation of the California Certificated Staff Performance Incentive Act.

Can closed-session bargaining work for you?

Oregon statute requires collective bargaining negotiations to take place in open session unless the parties mutually agree to bargain in closed executive session.

Census primer for school boards

Resources to help you make the most of the U.S. Census information.

Charter school resources and information

To help provide information about charter schools and what the steps are to establish a charter school.

Charter schools frequently asked questions

Questions and answers about public charter schools

Chemical and biological threats

CDC advisory on how to handle anthrax and other biological agent threats.

Chief Education Office

Overview of the Chief Education Office for the state of ORegon.

Choosing the chair

The selection of the board chair is made no later than the next regular meeting following July 1 each year.

Class size efforts in other states

These thirteen states have class-size-reduction initiatives. Thanks to the Oregon Legislative Policy and Research Office, we are able to show some costs and impacts nationwide.

Code of conduct for school board members

This information is from Boardsmanship For Oregon School Board Members, which explains what it takes to be an Oregon school board member.

Cognitive dissonance: A critical tool in social justice teaching

Paul C. Gorski explores our preconceptions about equity issues and the dissonance that occurs when new truths battle established beliefs.

Collective bargaining video series

Information, guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions about the role of board members during the collective bargaining process.

Coming to grips with less for everyone

As fiscal reality worsens with each economic forecast, boards and unions face the challenge of “living within our means.”

Communication with the board and public

The primary role of the chair, other than to run meetings, is to be the voice of the board.

Community engagement resources

Links to articles designed to help school boards establish two-way communication between the organization and the community it serves.

Comprehensive analysis of K-12 education finance in Oregon

Results of an OSBA-sponsored study reviewing public K-12 spending in Oregon since 1990.

Consider needs when preparing for negotiations

Well-prepared school boards don’t head into collective-bargaining negotiations without first reviewing their educational programs and considering trends affecting their district. By taking the time to consider specific educational programming issues before beginning negotiations, you can build critical flexibility into your contracts. Don’t get caught between “a rock and a hard place.”

Consider replacing early retirement incentives with TSAs

Your Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) may not be the best cost-saving strategy in today’s climate of rising health care costs. In fact, OSBA recommends that districts conduct a cost-benefit analysis of ERI programs. A growing number of districts have bargained a sunset on these programs, reduced benefits, or immediately discontinued the program. One alternative is to substitute ERI packages with a district-funded Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA).

Contract language review - the complaint procedure

Complaint-procedure language is often neglected in public education collective bargaining. Too often, board members and school administrators don’t realize they’ve paid it too little attention until it is too late.

Court orders school to allow teacher’s religious poster in classroom

A federal court in California found that ordering a teacher to take down his religious banners violated his First Amendment right.

Custody issues and schools

At the beginning of each school year front office staff and administrators must deal with tough situations involving custody disputes.

Dealing with crisis

Quick tips for communicating during a crisis.

Disregarding signs of disability amounts to “child find” violation

The federal court with jurisdiction over Oregon recently found that a district’s failure to conduct an educational assessment when there were clear signs of a student’s learning disabilities was the same as refusing to identify the student under the IDEA.

Does Oregon really have $12k in revenue per student?

If you’ve heard that Oregon "spends" an average of $12,000 per student annually, learn where this figure came from and how to correct it.

Drug Tests and Employees

Recommendations and Best Practice

Due process vs just cause

Due Process vs Just Cause Comparison

Early retirement program resources

Links to information about early retirement programs

Early retirement programs major reason for increased costs

Secretary of State report concludes that early retirement programs are one of the major reasons behind school district cost increases.

Education funding resources

Links to valuable funding resources

Educational equity - NSBA resources

Recommended resources from NSBA on boosting student achievement.

Educational equity and student achievement

Resources to help boards close the achievement gap.

Election do's and don'ts for public officials

Guidelines providing some general legal principles found in case and statutory law.

Elections - School political action committees

Information for community members forming political action committees to support a school district bond measure.

Employee discharged for medical marijuana

Medical marijuana users are not protected by Oregon's disability law.

Ending fund balance-how much is enough?

Unions are targeting “ending fund balances” as a source to fund their salary and benefit proposals. This has become a popular issue at the legislature, in budget meetings and at bargaining tables. So, what is ending fund balance and why do we need it?

Engaging the community in budget development

Learn from Gresham-Barlow School District how to engage your community in setting budgeting priorities.

Equalization and special education impact K-12 funding

November 18, 2002 press release announcing results of OSBA-sponsored study on K-12 funding.

Essential School Board Book Summary

Well-researched, practical strategies to improve student achievement through good governance from The Essential School Board Book by Nancy Walser.

Establishing the district bargaining team

Collective bargaining has a profound impact on education programs provided through school districts, ESDs and community colleges.

Evaluating the superintendent

What the board needs to know to effectively evaluate the superintendent.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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Congress passed and the President signed December 10, 2015, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, now commonly referred to as Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)). ESSA is effective for the 2017 thru 2020 school years. Oregon’s current waiver from NCLBA, remains in effect until August 1, 2016.

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  • Requires states to adopt challenging state standards in reading, math and science. Oregon's State Board of Education has adopted state standards in reading, English language arts, math and science.
  • Levels of achievement aligned with entrance requirements for higher education and career technical education (CTE) institutions.

In addition, Oregon has board-adopted content standards in the following areas: health, physical education, world language, social sciences, and the arts


  • Student still will be tested in math and reading in grades 3 thru 8 and once in high school, and in science annually in grades 3-5, 6-8 and 10-12.
  • Allows states to use a single annual summative assessment. Oregon's current adopted assessment is Smarter Balanced.
  • Allows districts to use other nationally recognized tests in high school, as approved by the state.
  • The ESSA maintains the 95% testing participation requirement. Oregon created its own "opt out" policy and will decide how to include this into the state's accountability system.


  • Replaces adequate yearly progress (AYP) with a state defined system.
  • Data must still be broken out in sub groups of English language learners, students in special education, racial minorities and those in poverty.
  • State accountability must still include testing but must include other factors, such as but not limited to, school climate, teacher engagement, access and success in advanced course work.
  • The current structure of the Oregon report card remains the same.

School Improvement

  • Every three years the state must identify and intervene in the bottom 5 percent of lowest performing schools, and high schools where the graduation rates are less than 67 percent.
  • Districts must develop a Comprehensive Support and Improvement plan for schools identified; the plan must be approved and monitored by the State.
  • School improvement grants (SIG) were eliminated. The State must now reserve 7 percent of Title I-A for improvement of identified schools.

Teacher and Leader Effectiveness

  • Ends federally mandated highly qualified teacher requirements.
  • Does not require teacher or principal evaluation systems.
  • Senate Bill 290 (2015) and Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) remain in effect. Those OARs are 581-022-1723, 581-022-1723 and 581-022-1724.

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Background Links

Initial Implementation Guide for the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), published by National School Boards Association (2016) - (566k This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Link to the federal Senate Bill 1177 for Every Student Succeeds Act (a.k.a. the reauthorization of  the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). 

Every Student Succeeds Bill - To reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. (A 391 page document.)

Education Week article by Alyson Klein - ESEA Reauthorization: ESSA Explained (November 23, 2015)

Oregon Department of Education (ODE), ESSA contact person: Theresa Richards, Director of Federal Programs, (503) 947-5922.

Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress and enacted December 2015. (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

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Executive sessions

A board may be called to meet in executive session or decide to go into executive session at any time during a regular, special or emergency meeting to discuss certain matters. By Oregon law, the chair may call a board into executive session without a vote of the board; however, in some districts, local policy may require such a vote.

Whenever an executive session is called, the presiding officer must identify the section and subsection of ORS 192.660 (listed reasons) or 332.061 (expulsion or medical records of a minor student) that authorize the executive session's purpose.

Boards may not meet in executive session to conduct the following business:

  • Fill a vacancy in an elective office
  • Fill a vacancy on any public committee, commission or other advisory group
  • Consider general employment policies
  • Discuss an employee's performance, unless that employee has been notified and has been given the option of having the discussion held in public
  • Hire the superintendent or any other employee if the vacancy has not been advertised, hiring procedures have not been adopted by the board, and there has been no opportunity for public input about the hiring

Purposes for which executive session may be called:

  • To consider the employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent. (ORS 192.660(2)(a))
  • To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or agent, unless he or she requests an open meeting. (ORS 192.660(2)(b))
  • To conduct deliberations with persons designated to carry on labor negotiations. (ORS 192.660(2)(d))
  • To conduct deliberations to negotiate real property transactions. (ORS 192.660(2)(e))
  • To consider records exempt by law from public inspection. (ORS 192.660(2)(f))
  • To consult with counsel concerning current or possible litigation. (ORS 192.660(2)(h))
  • To review and evaluate the performance of the superintendent or any other public officer, employee or staff member, unless that person requests an open hearing. (ORS 192.660(2)(i))
  • To consider matters relating to school safety or a plan that responds to safety threats made toward a school. (ORS 192.660(k))
  • Conduct a hearing on the expulsion of a student or to review a student's confidential medical records. (ORS 332.061(1))

If you have questions about the state’s public meetings laws and other state statutes dealing with the meetings of public officials, call OSBA. Further information on executive session is available in OSBA's Public Meetings Law, Board Meetings and Executive Sessions.

Explaining terrorism to children

Tips for helping children handle crisis situations.

Exploring class size- Resources for reducing class size

Class Size: Is less really more? Research is the basis for determining how class-size reduction can be used to improve learning.

Facility improvements and sustainability concepts

Webinar training provided on facility improvements and sustainability concepts.

Fact sheet - analysis of K-12 education finance in Oregon

Bulleted list of facts about K-12 education funding in Oregon

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) -- the Basics

The laws surrounding the confidential of student education records.

Federal court finds IEP and placement appropriate over parents’ objections

Recently a federal court in Lessard v. Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District rejected parents’ arguments finding a school district offered a student FAPE in the least restrictive environment and that a proposed IEP was appropriate.

Federal military leave guidelines

Military Leave Guidelines

Freedom of information laws

Oregon’s Public Meetings Laws govern what materials must be made available to the public and which may be withheld.

Frequently asked questions about labor negotiations

Frequently Asked Questions About Labor Negotiations

Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools

On February 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, No. 15-497.

Gender Equity in Career and Technical Education

Career and technical education (CTE) opportunities are increasingly recognized as a necessary part of education at all levels. What should your institution do to comply?

Getting started with charter school services

Find resources to access OSBA services through an associate membership like policy, legal, human resources and legislative to help boards understand charter laws and make informed decisions.

Glossary of budget terms

Terms you need to know as you work with school budgets.

Glossary of terms

Resource guide to educational terminology

Ground rules - A contract waiting to happen

Negotiation ground rules are not usually recommended or necessary during traditional bargaining. State law describes the three required ground rules in any negotiations process: meet at reasonable times, meet at reasonable places and confer in good faith.

Handling board correspondence

Letters sent to the board of education through the board chair should be shared with other board members.

Healthy Kids Learn Better

Healthy Kids Learn Better is a way of forming school-community partnerships that address kids' physical, social and emotional needs, improving their potential to learn.

Healthy Kids Learn Better toolkit

Documents and links to information about the Healthy Kids Learn Better partnership

Healthy Kids Learn Better: State and national resources

Links to useful information from Oregon and around the nation.

History of school funding

An outline of Oregon's school funding history.

How an idea becomes law

A description of the types of legislative measures and the process for creating new laws.

How much time does being a good board member require?

The time committment for school board service.

How school funding works

Links to information explaining Oreogn school funding.

Important principles for board members

Nine principles of a successful school board member.

Insurance strategies - when more is better

What do striking grocery workers, the longest school district strike in Washington state history, Chicago teachers taking a strike vote and an eagerly awaited report from Portland Public Schools all have in common? The rising cost of health insurance.

Involving the community in bond and local option elections

Ways to involve the community during bond and local option elections.

Is your school board dysfunctional?

Common denominators in dysfunctional school boards.

Just cause resources

Links to information about just cause contract language.

Know how the legislative process works

The foundation of successful advocacy is knowledge of the legislative process.

Labor negotiations frequently asked questions

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about bargaining.

Layoff and recall basics

Teacher and administrator layoff procedures are addressed in ORS 342.934 and in collective bargaining agreements.

Mandatory non-curricular training

Compliance training for employees of Oregon schools.

Motivating teachers to improve instruction

In the last two decades of education reform, teachers have been viewed as central to both the problems of education and their solutions. Education researchers and school leaders have faced the challenge of motivating teachers to high levels of performance.

New board member resources

Resources for New Board Members

NSBA's "Stand Up 4 Public Schools" campaign

The national effort is designed to highlight the importance of public education and operates on a simple premise: “Who I am today began with public education.”

Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS)

Information about Oregon's statewide assessment system.

Oregon ethics laws frequently asked questions

Frequently asked ethics questions: Get the run down on what you need to know about Oregon’s ethics laws.

Oregon Framework for teacher and administrator evaluation and support systems

Information about aligning teacher and administrator evaluations with student performance standards.

Oregon performance pay plans

An increasing number of Oregon school districts are adopting performance-pay options in their collective bargaining agreements.

Oregon's NCLB Waiver

Overview of Oregon's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waiver.

Oregon's report card

Information about the Oregon report card, an annual publication reporting on how local schools are performing.

OSBA annual survey of teacher salaries and benefits

A downloadable publication containing a comparison of teacher salaries and benefits for the current year.

Overview of Title IX – Not Just for Sports

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

Pandemic and outbreak threats

Information about why and how districts should develop and implement pandemic and outbreak preparedness plans.

Pandemic and Outbreak Threats Resources

Resources to develop or review pandemic flu and other virus outbreak plans, be vigilant and responsive, and work with your local health department officials.

Pandemic Threats - Policy Issues

Policy questions every institution should ask to prepare for pandemic threats.

Pandemic threats: A checklist for district preparedness planning

A checklist highlighting the major points that every district should consider when shaping its pandemic preparedness plan.

Performance pay primer

Teacher Performance Pay, as part of a total compensation program, is a concept that bears further examination.

Performance pay resources

Links to information about performance pay.

PERS background information

A summary of the PERS challenges including clips from the 2012 Summer Board Conference workshop on PERS.

PERS frequently asked questions

A list of the most common questions and answers related to PERS

PERS glossary

Terms to help you understand the PERS challenge.

PERS information center

The latest PERS rates and information along with a high-level overview of the PERS challenges.

PERS reform - 2013 Legislative proposals

Information regarding the PERS reforms proposed to the 2013 Oregon Legislature.

PERS resources

Links to PERS resources

Personal qualities of a board chair

Leadership is an acquired art, not something that comes naturally to all people.

Professor’s offensive messages did not constitute workplace harassment

A community college in Arizona was not required to discipline or dimiss a professor.

Public comment at board meetings

The laws governing boards of education require that their work be done where the public can observe their actions.

Public hearings

The board will hold public hearings as required by law.

Record Retention

Questions often arise regarding how long records should be kept and what should be retained or discarded.

Recruitment and retention resources

Resources regarding recruitment and retention of employees.

Reductions in force - the Board's role

An overview of the role of the board and the appropriate process and procedures that are followed by the district administrator for reductions in force.

Report card: Oregon Administrative Rule

The state Board of Education adopted this Oregon Administrative Rule in December 1999 to outline how the Superintendent of Public Instruction will carry out the charge to produce report cards for every school and school district in Oregon.

Residential placement not necessary

Residential placements not necessary to address issues unrelated to learning process

Roles and responsibilities in a bond election campaign

Roles and responsibilities for those involved in bond election campaigns.

Sample bond election campaign structure

A sample to help you structure your election campaign.

Sample Oath of Office

Recently elected and appointed board members must take an oath of office before assuming the duties of office.

Saving money found not to violate anti age-discrimination law

The desire to save money is not prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

School board elections

Information about how to file as a candidate for school board elections.

School Board Recognition Month

January is traditionally School Board Recognition Month in Oregon and throughout the United States.

School violence prevention

Resources to assist districts prevent and handle school violence.

Schools at the heart of communities

Schools are changing - from footprints and heating systems to landscapes and siting decisions.

Schools at the heart of communities: Grant possibilities

Information about ODOT's Pedestrian and Bicycle Grant Program.

Schools cycle back into the heart of the neighborhood

Communities began to move away from the concept of a small neighborhood-centered school that kids could walk to in the 1970s, but some are pushing back. Learn about this trend.

Sharing a common vision

The board chair should work to keep the board focused on the school district's vision.

Shifts in English language arts and math standards

An overview of the shifts necessary to align Common Core State Standards with curriculum and classroom instruction in English language arts and math.

Shortening the school year

As Oregon's economic woes deepen and financial uncertainty grows, some districts are considering early closure or a shortened school year for 2008-09 or beyond. There are several issues districts should consider before deciding to shorten the school year.

Should you hire a professional negotiator?

Insight and advice about hiring professional negotiators.

Smarter Balanced Assessment

Information about Oregon's transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment scale for math and English language arts content standards

Social Media Use by School Employees - Guidance for K-12 Districts and ESDs

Many employees will use social media, both personally and for work purposes. While Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are popular today, new platforms are developed constantly that your employees may want to use.

Staying safe resources

Get ready, respond & recover: links to valuable information on school safety.

Student Achievement Accountability

Information related to the board's role in measuring and reporting student success.

Student achievement gateway

An in-depth analysis of student achievement initiatives in Oregon focusing on the role of school boards.

Student Achievement Governance

Information related to the board's role in setting goals and policies to support student success.

Student safety center

Links to resources on planning for student safety and responding to specific threats.


With costs going up and revenue going down, it’s essential to look for the most cost effective way of providing services. Subcontracting is one way to cut costs while maintaining current services.

Superintendent and board chair dialogue

Keeping the lines of communication open between the board chair and the superintendent benefits the entire board and school district.

Superintendent evaluation workbook

A high quality superintendent evaluation process helps develop good board/superintendent relationships, provides clarity of roles, creates common understanding of the leadership being provided and provides a mechanism for public accountability.

Superintendent performance incentive programs

Performance incentive programs and performance pay programs are not the same.

Supreme Court grants unemployment benefits to teacher involved in film clip controversy

A teacher was entitled to unemployment benefits under Oregon law after he resigned in lieu of termination.

Tangible triumphs: Increase support for schools by changing your message

Oregonians aren't getting enough of the right information about their local schools to create a very big fan club for education. Here we provide examples of "blue-ribbon" triumphs in our schools and give you new tools to help you change the public's opinion.

Teacher’s grievance against principal not protected by First Amendment

Speech not required in an employee’s job description can still be part of a public employee’s official duties.

The board chair and first amendment

When the board chair speaks to an issue, the public and the media assume that the chair’s statement is the opinion of the entire board of education.

The board chair and superintendent

The board chair and the superintendent collaborate on the meeting agenda and other operational issues facing the board.

The board meeting agenda

The agenda, prepared by the board chair and the superintendent, is the most important document at any board meeting.

The legislative policy development process

OSBA's primary mission is to serve as the collective voice for all Oregon public school boards. Being that collective voice requires participation of every board member in OSBA's governance and legislative activities.

The media and your board

The media is interested in what happens at your board meetings, and the media version of your board actions is what most people in your community see (or hear).

The Quality Education Model

Links to information about the Quality Education Model

Time/stress management

Serving on a board of education is a volunteer effort that requires many hours of diligent work.

Timeline: Oregon and U.S. racial, immigration and education history

Looking Back In Order to Move Forward, a timeline of Oregon and U.S. racial, immigration and education history outlines significant events during the last 10,000 years that have brought us to where we are today in Oregon education equity.

Trends in international mathematics and science study

It provides reliable and timely data on mathematics and science achievement among U.S. students compared to students in other countries.

US Department of Education’s definition of “highly qualified teacher” invalidated

The federal regulation implementing the No Child Left Behind Act was partially invalidated.

Vital connection - connecting student achievement and collective bargaining

As school districts throughout the U.S. focus on student achievement, the spotlight turns to how we compensate and evaluate teachers.

Voting requirements

A majority of the members of the board (a quorum) must be present to legally conduct business.

WA school district not liable for peer-on-peer sexual harassment

The student failed to prove facts essential to prevail under his claim for sexual harassment.

Warning signs of early closure: A caution about eliminating days

School districts should consider several issues before making the decision to offer a shortened school year either this year or next.

What does a school board do?

An overview of a school board's responsibilities.

What makes a good board member?

Qualities that describe effective board members.

What's on the table? Are higher salaries really the answer?

An analysis of what motivates teachers when employees are in short supply.

When crisis hits: media attention on traumatized students

Tips to help students and their families in traumatic situations who are faced with the harsh glare of the media spotlight.

When to start bargaining - A legal and strategic perspective

The Legal, Labor & Employment Services staff at OSBA answers questions about timing the start of the bargaining process

Won a bond election? Checklist for winners.

A checklist for winners of a bond or local option election.