Senate Bill 1566—Everything You Need to Know

By Phil Gore, PhD, Division Director of TASB Leadership Team Services

Board member table discussionSB 1566 from the last legislative session covers a lot of topics relevant to school districts and boards. In addition to changing when board members report training credit, this legislation highlights the board’s role in governance and oversight that maximizes student performance. The legislation requires that board members participate in a three-hour training every two years on this topic. Rather than thinking of this as simply one more unfunded mandate, TASB encourages trustees to take advantage of this opportunity to examine and consider refocusing your board’s work on what matters most—the lifelong success of your students.

Asking the right questions

Training on this topic proves helpful because it promotes thinking and actions that improve outcomes for your students. We know that everything rises and falls on vision. What is your vision for success of the students in your school district? Consider asking your fellow trustees and superintendent what the vision is for your students. When they leave your school district, what are the board’s hopes and dreams for them? How might you hear from students and families in your community about their vision for student success? These types of questions are the foundation for improving student outcomes in your district. With a clear vision for student success, what goals and actions might help your district fulfill your board’s vision? Very importantly, how will you know whether your district is making sufficient progress toward your vision and goals? If your board already has a clear focus on improving student achievement and tools in place to measure progress, how might your work be improved? Again, we encourage you to regularly have these conversations among your board-superintendent team. Hopefully, the SB 1566 training you are participating in helps you take these steps.

Opportunity for a new beginning

If collectively we will commit to continuously improving student outcomes, the newly required SB 1566 training can help foster improvement in Texas school governance. Don’t just go to a training and consider that requirement checked off for two years. Find some ways to follow up. Think of SB 1566 training as an opportunity for a new beginning and a foundation for improvement.

A deeper dive into the learning

While success begins with vision, commitment by the board and superintendent is the essential next step toward success. TASB and other training providers will develop new iterations of the training that incorporate ongoing learning and feedback from participants. TEA’s Lone Star Governance and TASB’s XG Board Development are two pathways for more in-depth support focused on the board’s work on student outcomes. Other options are available as well. If your board is interested in taking a comprehensive approach to SB 1566 and learning more about the correlation between school governance practices and student outcomes, email lts@tasb.org.

This bulletin, produced by TASB Leadership Team Services, examines research and shares philosophies to inform and
promote exceptional governance within school boards across Texas.