Giving Compass' Take:

• School boards are joining forces to create a group that provides consulting and collaboration to build a "national community" of school board members. 

• What are the potential challenges regarding funding, mission alignment, and local autonomy?

• Read some common misconceptions of managing school improvement. 

School board members are elected to make the most local decisions about school policy. But a new group is trying to get them to join forces to form a network of school board members in at least 10 cities.

School Board Partners says it wants to create a “national community” of board members and will offer coaching and consulting services.

The group spun out of Education Cities, an organization that advocated for the “portfolio model,” a strategy focused on expanding charter schools as well as giving district schools more autonomy.

But Carrie McPherson Douglass, who previously worked at Education Cities and founded the new group, says it won’t push specific policies.

“One of our core beliefs is the need for local autonomy,” she told Chalkbeat. The group is open to board members from any city who will prioritize equity and want to see “dramatic change,” she said — and that’s not simply code for the portfolio model.

School Board Partners’ website offers limited information, but an August email sent to recruit potential members offers more details. Douglass wrote the group has “secured our first large multi-year grant” and plans to offer “pro-bono consulting services to help school board members research, plan and execute thoughtful change initiatives.”

School Board Partners was announced in July, as some of Education Cities’ staff shifted to and helped start The City Fund, a well-financed new group that hopes to bring the portfolio model to cities across the country.

Read the full article about the community of school boards by Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat