Battle Ground Public Schools’ Board of Directors recognized with Board of Distinction Award

Dec. 2, 2021

The Battle Ground Public Schools’ Board of Directors has received recognition from the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) as one of 34 Boards of Distinction for 2021-22. The award recognizes school boards that use research-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement. This is the third time in the past five years the Battle Ground school board has been recognized with the award.

“I’m proud of how this board came together throughout the pandemic to identify areas of need and work with district administration to address them,” said Board President Mark Watrin. “This award recognizes all of the time and effort these directors have put in to listen to the community and work with all stakeholders to navigate these choppy waters. We also recognize the work is far from over, and we are committed to helping students as they overcome the academic challenges posed during the pandemic.”

Photo collage of school boardIn this third school year of health and safety challenges, this year’s Board of Distinction application asked school directors to illustrate how their actions exemplified visionary leadership and helped their school districts close opportunity gaps.

To be awarded, boards had to show a clear link between their leadership in applying the Washington School Board Standards and closing gaps that impact student success.

In its nomination for the award, the Battle Ground school board focused on efforts to increase access to technology like Chromebooks and internet hotspots to allow students to learn remotely, opening school spaces for students who were unable to get online at home, or even using buses as mobile hotspots. The district also worked closely with the Battle Ground Education Foundation and its food services provider to make sure students had meals available when they couldn’t be in school.

“Our board, with the help of our administrative team, have emphasized the importance of modeling to our students and citizens that ‘We are better together’ when solving problems that school boards must tackle,” the nomination read. “One example of that modeling was to rearrange our traditional board meeting agenda order to place students and their reports first in our director communications. We make a point of asking for input from our two student board members as well as other student leadership members. Our goal is to start every board meeting with a student’s voice if possible.”

Thirty-four school boards in Washington were named as Boards of Distinction by WSSDA. Battle Ground was the only large-size district (9,001+ FTE students) in Clark County to be recognized for the award. 

BGPS’ directors received the Board of Distinction award in November at the Washington State School Directors’ Associaton’s (WSSDA) annual conference in Bellevue.

“The boards that are being honored developed unique approaches that reflected the needs of their students and families and relied on careful analysis of data that indicated those needs,” said WSSDA Director of Leadership Development Tricia Lubach. “Despite historic challenges this year, school boards displayed tremendous leadership in bringing students back to in-person learning safely and creatively.”

More about the Boards of Distinction Awards

The annual Boards of Distinction program is designed to encourage boards to examine their practices as governing bodies and how their actions and decisions impact the success of students. National research on the Washington State School Board Standards shows a correlation between board actions and student outcomes. Those recognized as Boards of Distinction have reviewed their decision-making and shown how that is tied to positive student outcomes.

Boards are also asked to demonstrate their actions and results in efforts to close opportunity gaps. Being selected as a Board of Distinction requires that boards show a clear link between their leadership and closing gaps that impact student success.

The applications were evaluated by a panel of 10 judges who not only reviewed applications but also worked together with WSSDA staff to calibrate with each other on how applications are evaluated. Judges from across the state included former and current Educational Service District superintendents, State Board of Education board members, former school directors, and others who are involved in education leadership on a statewide level.

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Brush Prairie, WA 98606

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Battle Ground, WA 98604

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