Alger Receives VSBA Academy Award

Clarke County School Board member, Janet Creager Alger has won the the Virginia School Board Association Award of Distinction for her service and dedication to the Clarke County Public Schools. The Award of Distinction is given to Virginia school board or staff members based on successful completion of professional education courses and seminars offered through VSBA. Several other Clarke County School Board members were also recognized for their commitment to professional development.

During the 1988 General Assembly, a state requirement for local school board member training was added to Standard 5 of the Standards of Quality. Effective July 1, 1988, “each local school board shall require its members to participate annually in high-quality professional development activities at the state, local, or national levels on governance, including but not limited to, personnel, policies and practices, curriculum and instruction; use of data in planning and decision making; and current issues in education as part of their service on the local board”

Clarke County School Board member Janet Alger (r) with reading specialist Donna Michael - Photo Edward Leonard

The VSBA School Board Academy offers a comprehensive program of orientation and education specifically designed for local school boards. The Academy’s Award of Distinction is given to those school board or staff members who have earned 84 or more points over two years and includes a certificate and the coveted VSBA Starfish pin.

Alger achieved 108 points for the two year period beginning  in 2008 exceeding the Academy’s 84 point minimum requirement.

“Most of the conferences gave three credits for each four hours of  meeting/training time,” Alger said “The meetings occurred in Charlottesville,  Richmond, Williamsburg and Wytheville, VA. All tallied, Alger estimates that she received 140+ hours of training.

VSBA Awards of Achievement were also given to Ms. Barbara Lee and Ms. Robina Bouffault. The Award of Achievement is given to those who have earned a minimum of 24 credits per year, and includes a certificate and a bronze pin. VSBA Certificates of Recognition were given to Ms. Emily S. Rhodes and Ms. Renée Weir. The Certificate of Recognition is given to those who have earned a minimum of 15 Academy Credits per year.

“I believe in being a life long learner and believe that the  information have I gained helps me be a better informed school  board member,” Alger said. “The ability to connect with school board  members and superintendents all over the state and to learn from the  challenges they  have encountered is invaluable.”

Alger said that her VSBA training has helped not only in improving her management and procedural skills but has made an impact in the day-to-day lives of Clarke County’s students. Alger cited a recent legal challenge involving access to school grounds by convicted felons.

“I believe the current school board benefited from up to date  legal information specifically concerning the change  in the way sexual predators can request access to school  property,” Alger said. “Our school staff was able to further research the  information which resulted in policy adopted by  the school board.”

Superintendent of Schools Michael Murphy was also recognized and received an Award of Honor, having received 66 points or more during the last two years.

“Recognition for the personal effort that our school board and staff make on behalf of our children and youth is important,” said Murphy. “I would like to thank each and every school board member for their continuous effort to improve their knowledge and skills, especially as most of the VSBA Academy training is paid for by our school board members themselves.”

Awards are issued for five levels of participation for those who have taken part in Academy programs to further their education in boardsmanship skills and/or curriculum, policy, or legal related issues. Academy programs include the Governor’s Conference, VSBA Annual Convention, VSBA Hot Topics Conference, VSBA Legislative Conference, and one or more VSBA Spring Regional Meetings. Academy points can also be earned for the VSBA Conference on School Law, attendance at the VSBA Center for Board Development, or at approved events, such as National School Board Association meetings.

While the modern school board has many challenges, better informed  school board members will be more  prepared to address these challenges and ultimately better  serve our students and staff.

According to the National School Board  Association “For school board members ongoing  professional development is not a luxury but a must.”