Recently Launched National Program has Roots in Michigan

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, June 3, 2015

Earlier this spring, the National School Boards Association announced a new program through its Center for Public Education called “Leading the Change.” It is a research-based initiative of data-driven decisionmaking tools for school boards to help transform chronically low-performing schools into high-quality institutions.

This program is based on one that representatives from Michigan were integral in creating along with CPE and the California and Illinois state associations. The original program, Data First, was broader, covering all ways that data could be used by school boards in making informed decisions.

Upon receiving a grant in 2009, Michigan was actively involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of a 15-month pilot study. The training modules were created, field tested by six districts (including Mount Clemens and Pontiac in Michigan) and refined based on the districts’ feedback. Several of MASB’s Board Member Certification classes continue to follow the original model to assist school boards in using data effectively in their governance role (CBAs 109 and 341-345).

NSBA and CPE have customized the Data First process to specifically address school turnaround. The program walks users through a series of guiding questions that inform each step. Additionally, the data cycle that the program is based on (Student Outcomes, Baseline, Resource Alignment, and Programs and Practices) is also reviewed in each of the MASB courses noted above.

“It is very difficult to turn around schools with a history of chronic low performance,” noted NSBA Immediate Past President Anne Byrne. “School board members can often feel frustrated by efforts to lift such schools from the bottom. “Leading the Change” gives school boards the tools to help them transform low-performing schools to high-performing institutions of learning, and lead children to excellence.”

For more information, visit the “Leading the Change” website at

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