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Advertisements portray the need for training

Newly elected school board members -- and prospective members who might become candidates in the future -- are the primary targets of an ongoing marketing campaign of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The campaign aims to increase participation in the Association's growing array of training programs, especially among newer and less experienced school board members.

"Training for board members is important at a couple of different levels," says Angie Peifer, who heads IASB's board development activities. "New members need to know how to work as members of a governing board and become productive as quickly as possible.

"Beyond that," she added, "there is so much additional value that a school board can bring to its schools when the members understand what board work is all about and how the board figures in the school performance equation."

IASB has developed a variety of workshops and a comprehensive LeaderShop curriculum designed to address the needs of Illinois school boards. Board members who participate can qualify for membership in the Association's LeaderShop Academy.

IASB data show that most board members -- more than 75 percent -- eventually engage in some kind of workshop training before they end their board careers. However, IASB offers special workshops for newly elected board members following each election, and the data show that only about one in three new members attends.

"It sometimes takes awhile for a new board member to discover the need for training," Peifer observes. "We need to reduce that time lag and make training an accepted part of the board member's responsibility."

The marketing program, launched last yea, consists of advertising, direct mail, handout brochures and similar collateral materials. The ads appear in The Illinois School Board Journal and feature a yearbook theme depicting students who go on to become successful school board members.  A radio commercial being piloted on a network of rural stations illuminates the importance of training for board members.

The campaign also includes pricing adjustments that provide discounts for board members who register for a series of workshops.

School board members can expect to see posters and other reproductions of the advertisements, along with informational material, displayed at division meetings, the Joint Annual Conference and other IASB events.

"The effort is set to run for two years," Peifer said. "We know it will take time to reach people with our message. In the long run, we expect to see a lot more board members at our workshops."

Click Here to view the first advertisement in the series as it appeared in the May-June 2005 edition of The Illinois School Board Journal.

Click Here to view the second advertisement in the series as it appeared in the September-October 2005 edition of The Journal.

Click Here to view the third advertisement in the series as it appeared in the March-April 2006 edition of The Journal.

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