October 27-28, 2017 | Santa Fe, NM


President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law in December 2015. ESSA is the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaces the previous version of the law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In the last year, states have been engaged in the development of new state accountability plans that will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. The plans lay out a roadmap for how states and local school districts will ensure that every student has access to an education that prepares them to be college and career ready.

School boards must understand the components within this federal legislation because they are ultimately charged with the responsibility to develop and implement policies and practices to ensure that student learning and academic success remain a top outcome and priority at the local level. As the implementation and monitoring of ESSA State Accountability Plans takes place, school board members will need to exercise their leadership and governance skills as collective boards to develop good public policy to better shape the educational experiences students and families receive in their communities.

The NALEO Southwest & Midwest Regional Governance Policy Institute convened education policymakers from the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. This convening is part of the NALEO Education Leadership Initiative (NELI) which aims to provide Latino public servants with the enhanced capacity and governance skills they need to become effective advocates for their students, families, and communities from birth to college completion.

The Policy Institute’s program covered the following topics:

  • ESSA and Local Governance: A New Era in Public Education
  • Evaluating ESSA State Accountability Plans: Monitoring and Ensuring Equity
  • Strengthening Successful Policymaking at the Local Level: An Introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order
  • Getting on Board: The Evolving Roles in Local Governance in the Era of ESSA
  • Leveraging Data: Effective Tools to Advocate for and Prioritize Student Needs
  • Administering ESSA Funds: Understanding the Budget Process for School Boards
  • ESSA Implementation: Short and Long Term Strategies

Participants who attended this convening strengthened their governance skills that support effective leadership, as well as received timely information, learned best practices, and exchanged legislative policies and ideas around the most effective ways to address pressing educational issues at the state and local levels.


Title Sponsors

Investor Sponsor

National Express/Durham School Services


  • Friday, October 27
  • Saturday, October 28

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Tewa East Foyer, Event Center First Floor


8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Tewa 1C, Event Center First Floor


9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Welcome Remarks

9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Session I:


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Local Governance: A New Era in Public Education

America’s public schools are experiencing a significant change in demographics. Latinos make up the second largest population group in the nation. The academic success of this segment of the student population in the United States is now more than ever linked to the future of the nation. With the passage of ESSA, local school boards, which are directly responsible for the leadership of our nation’s public schools, have an opportunity to ensure that all students are given an opportunity to thrive and succeed. To capitalize on the opportunities found in ESSA, local leaders must understand the policy shifts and regulation changes in this new federal law. This session provided participants with an overview of ESSA and explored which aspects of the law are different from its predecessor – No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

• Dr. Sharmila Mann, Director, K-12 Institute, Education Commission of the States (ECS)

• Ms. Gabriela Uro, Director for English Language Learner Policy and Research, Council of the Great City Schools

Additional Resource: 1

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Session II:


Evaluating ESSA State Accountability Plans: Monitoring and Ensuring Equity

ESSA shifts the responsibility for policy implementation from the federal government to individual states. This change in education policy allows states to be creative and innovative in the development and implementation of their state accountability systems. In this session, participants received an early analysis of the ESSA State Accountability Plans that have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. Participants also received an overview of the indicators and measures that states are adopting and implementing to address current student achievement gaps and strategies to improve academic outcomes for all students. Lastly, participants discussed strategies to engage their state education agencies to share their local insights on how their ESSA State Accountability Plans can be strengthened to address the specific needs in their communities.

• Ms. Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
PRESENTATION | AUDIO | Resources: 1 | 2

• Ms. Liz King, Senior Policy Analyst and Director of Education Policy, The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Additional Resource: 1

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tewa 1C, Event Center First Floor

Networking Luncheon

1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Session III:


Strengthening Successful Policymaking at the Local Level: An Introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order

At a time when local school boards are weighing and deciding the implications ESSA has on the success of their students, it is important that each and every board member possess strong governance skills that enhance the board’s collective strength and policymaking effectiveness. Having a strong understanding of parliamentary procedures is one core skillset that can lead to the effective management of a school district toward achieving its goals and priorities. When used properly, parliamentary procedures can facilitate the ability for school boards to streamline various policy issues to arrive at a collective decision. This session equipped participants with an introduction to parliamentary procedures to prepare school board members to successfully and effectively participate in the policymaking process.

• Mr. Jim Jones, PRP, CPP-T, President, National Association of Parliamentarians; Senior Partner, BGE Enterprises

• Ms. Sheila Tate, Senior Consultant, BGE Enterprises
PRESENTATION | Resources: 1 | 2

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Session IV:


Getting on Board: The Evolving Roles in Local Governance in the Era of ESSA

School boards find themselves in a moment of both great change and opportunity. ESSA provides local policymakers with both greater flexibility and more authority. This new role requires an increased focus on collaboration with the Superintendent to approach education policy as a governance team to create and implement policies that improve the educational outcome of every student. In this session, participants explored collaborative governance strategies with Superintendents to leverage the strategic planning process and community stakeholder relationships in support of better student academic achievement.

• Dr. Thomas L. Alsbury, President, Balanced Governance Solutions; Professor, Northwest University

• Dr. Phil Gore, Division Director, Leadership Team Services, Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)
PRESENTATION | Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Tewa 1A/B, Event Center First Floor

Closing Remarks

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Executive Lounge, 5th Floor

Opening Reception

Opening Reception Hosts:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
State Farm™

National Express/Durham School Services