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Connecting with the Community

The Illinois Association of School Boards has continually focused its board development efforts on helping school board members understand the importance of good governance.

IASB’s ‘ Foundational Principles of Effective Governance’ note that the primary task of the school board is to continually define, articulate and re-define district ends to answer the recurring question: “Who gets what benefits for how much?” In order to define those ends and clarify the district’s vision, mission and goals, the school board needs to connect with its community around the aspirations that people have for their local schools.

While many school districts do very good work around public relations or polling, connecting with the community involves much more than that. It requires an ongoing, two-way conversation that enables the school board to hear and understand the community’s educational aspirations and desires, to serve effectively as an advocate for district improvement and to accurately inform the community of the district’s performance.

That’s why IASB has extensively researched and prepared a new report, “Connecting with the Community: the Purpose and Process of Community Engagement as part of Effective School Board Governance.”

Its purpose is to help school boards and superintendents understand what community engagement is, why it is critical, what they can expect to accomplish, and how to evaluate the results.

Those who want to learn more about this important work have two options to access this material. The Executive Summary highlights the report in 10 parts:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • What is Community Engagement?
  • The ‘Whys’ of Community Engagement
  • The ‘Hows’ of Community Engagement
  • Basic Principles of Community Engagement
  • Best Practices, Strategies and Tactics
  • An Evaluation Process for Community Engagement
  • Implementing a Community Engagement Process: One Approach
  • References

The summary and full report, as well as the introductory video, are accessible online. The Association offers Community Engagement sessions at the Joint Annual Conference, as well as in-district and regional workshops on the purpose and process of community engagement. Events will be posted at IASB's online events calendar and will be announced as they are scheduled.

Connecting with the Community Full Report (PDF)

Connecting with the Community Executive Summary (PDF)

Connecting with the Community Full Report (digital version)

Connecting with the Community Executive Summary (digital version)

IASB has prepared a list of resources of individuals and organizations that may be useful to school boards and districts that are preparing for or involved in community engagement initiatives. These resources are located on the IASB Members-Only website.


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