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VISD trustee receives training in public school advocacy

Nov. 30, 2011 at 5:30 a.m.

Estella De Los Santos

A Victoria school district board member was among a select group of school board members who gathered in Dallas to focus on their roles as advocates for public schools with state and national policymakers.

Estella De Los Santos met for the second of five training sessions of Leadership Texas Association of School Boards on Nov. 11 and 12.

They began their activities by hearing Kevin Tutt, president of Creative Solutions Improvement, speak on engagement and the role board members play in establishing community support and involvement.

The group also toured two school campuses in Cedar Hill school district. The first was the district's dual language elementary campus followed by a visit to Collegiate High School. Both schools offer unique educational opportunities to Cedar Hill students.

District visits ended with a stop at the Cedar Hill Government Center, the shared administration building for the school district and city government.

Speakers at the session included Arch Lustberg, Emily Babb, and Patricia Ellis.

Lustberg, a nationally recognized trainer in effective communication, provided the group with tips on effective strategies for contacts with policymakers. His client list includes numerous political candidates, corporate executives, and university classes.

Babb and Ellis, lead investigators for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, spoke about the role of the federal government in the area of civil rights offenses in education. Included was a discussion of what school board members should know if the Office for Civil Rights responds to a challenge in their school district.

Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards, the group of 36 trustees is participating in a year-long education leadership study program. The Leadership TASB class of 2012 represents Texas school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 275 to 106,000, and reflects a wide range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year with a unique designation recognized by TASB.

Each session has a specific theme that builds on the previous session and features state and national experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work on extended learning assignments between meetings throughout the year. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has more than 600 graduates to date.

TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school districts.

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