School Board Conference – California 2023



2023 California School Board Member Conference

Empowering Local Voices in Education

 Wednesday, November 29, 2023
9:30 –5:00 PM

JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square
515 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Parents across the nation are stepping up to run for school board in their local districts to improve the state of our public education system and fight to put students first. The Pacific Research Institute created its School Board Member Training Program in November of 2022 to educate and empower school board members by providing them with the tools and resources they need to make meaningful change in their local school districts.

Our mission is to bring likeminded board members together from across the state to hear from esteemed panelists and build coalitions to improve the public education experience for California students. The second annual PRI California School Board Member Conference will explore influential decision making, the new ethnic studies curriculum graduation requirement, the decline in student proficiency in U.S. history and civics education, and how to battle your district’s superintendent, bureaucracy, and the teacher unions.

This event is free and includes breakfast, lunch, and reception. All attendees will receive one night hotel accommodations on the evening of Tuesday, November 28 courtesy of PRI

This event is for elected school board members only.

Panel Discussions

Be an Influential and Credible Decision Maker

More and more eyes are on elected school board members today than ever as parents and community members expect successful change in their child’s public school system. Whether you are a newly-elected board member or a school board veteran, this panel will walk you through the tools and resources you need to effectively make decisions and policy choices. You will hear from esteemed panelists on how to elevate your communication and persuasion skills, utilize research to best inform your policy decisions, build coalitions to achieve your goals, and watch and follow state legislative policies that affect your school district and your role as a school board member.

The Decline in Civics and U.S. History Student Proficiency

Released in May, the results of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) U.S. history and civics test revealed that just 13 percent of eighth-graders met proficiency standards for U.S. history, and about 20 percent of students scored at or above the proficient level in civics. Both scores represent all-time lows in these areas. This panel will discuss this severe decline and how school board members can assist their districts to change course and implement practices to reverse this downward trend.

Preparing for the New Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement

California passed a law in 2021 requiring high schools to begin offering ethnic studies courses in the 2025-26 school year. The law makes this a requirement for high school graduation starting with the class of 2030. We will discuss how this requirement will be implemented by school districts, implementation challenges and the best solutions for board members.

How to Battle Your District’s Superintendent, Bureaucracy, and the Teacher Unions

Many California School Boards spend wasted time fighting unelected superintendents, district bureaucracy that slows down effective policy making and the ever-impeding teacher unions. This panel will walk you through what you as a school board member can do to create a healthy working environment free of bureaucracy and time-consuming battles so you can refocus your attention on your district’s students and community.  


Connie Conway

The Hon.
Connie Conway
Former Member of Congress

Lia Rensin

Lia Rensin
Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies

Jennifer Jacobson

The Hon.
Jennifer Jacobson

San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees

Sandra Crandall

The Hon.
Sandra Crandall
Fountain Valley School District Board of Trustees

Rebecca Friedrichs

Rebecca Friedrichs
For Kids and Country

deb wahlstrom picture2

Deborah Wahlstrom
Author of Using Data to Improve Student Achievement

Todd Maddison

Todd Maddison
Transparent California

Christy Lozano

Christy Lozano

Alexandra Miller

Alexandra Miller
Orange County Classical Academy charter school

Gonzales Norman

Norman Gonzales
John Adams Academy charter school


Testimonials from Attendees of PRI’s
First Annual School Board Conference in San Diego 2022

“Wonderful event. Can’t wait to share my experience from this year with new board members joining the fight in years to come.”

"You guys did an excellent job! I’ve already connected with a few members again to work on a project!"

"It was time well spent by everyone who attended! Most of the participants are looking forward to the next event."

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