CSBMA In the News

Recently, CSBMA leadership has been interviewed by various news outlets about the work we have done and how we are using our momentum to bring student voice to local boards of education. Check out these articles!

EdWeek- Student School Board Members Flex Their Civic Muscle in Supreme Court Free-Speech Case

Baltimore Sun- Former Maryland student school board members lead nationwide effort to weigh in on upcoming Supreme Court case

California Student Board Member Association Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Lower Court Decision in Landmark Student Speech Case

In the Supreme Court case Mahanoy Area School District vs. B.L. 20-255, the California Student Board Member Association stands with B.L. and recognizes her right to express opinions and frustrations about school through social media. As Student Board Members, we have the unique role of bridging the pervasive disconnect between district administration and the lived experiences of students. Free speech is the cornerstone of student advocacy as well as the primary vehicle through which we convey information to our adult colleagues and the public. In the twenty-first century, social media provides a critical platform where students can voice their day-to-day experiences to others. It is essential for the operation of schools that students continue to have this avenue to speak their minds as a means of ensuring honest communication between students and their school system. A potential ruling against the respondent would grant school districts unprecedented authority over the right of students to share their concerns, speak out, and have open dialogue off campus. This systemic overreach would damage our ability as Student Board Members to present a full picture of student experience to school districts across the state. The California Student Board Member Association stands in support of student free speech and urges the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the student.

Workshop: LCAP Presentation (Part 2)

Thank you to the students who came to CSBMA’s most recent LCAP workshop. This meeting focused on the priorities of the LCAP and how to use your position to make the most profound impact. Those that attended had an opportunity to examine some of the state priorities and how these goals form this guiding policy. 

The information that the Curriculum Committee puts together goes a long way in breaking down complicated policies and puts the power in your hands when you are able to understand these materials. The goal of this workshop series is to empower SBMs to have the expertise to use the LCAP to lift up the voices of their peers. 

A huge thank you to our presenters, Léo Corzo-Clark, Joe Brawdy, Isa Sheikh, Fatima Kamara, and Addie Craig for their leadership and insights into how SBMs can make the most impact in their district with the LCAP. 

Attached to this email is the presentation from last night. These resources will be helpful in guiding your understanding of the LCAP and how it impacts your constituents. Please contact Léo Corzo-Clark: sbmresourcesdirector@csbma.org if you want to set up a one on one collaboration meeting with our resource team. 

Stay tuned to future workshops and training conferences as we prepare for new leaders to begin partnering with CSBMA. 

Workshop: LCAP Presentation (Part 1)

On Wednesday evening, Student Board members and our student advocacy partners met to hear from the CSBMA Curriculum Committee about the LCAP and how SBMs can use their rights to influence this incredibly important policy. 

Léo Corzo-Clark opened the meeting followed by a brief history of the California LCAP and explanation of the main principles that guide the LCAP. This policy focuses especially with transparency and engaging stakeholders in local districts. The state continues to work to increase transparency, streamline the information, and establish metrics in districts to measure progress. 

Student perspectives are vital to giving feedback to the district on what priorities should be set. Many aspects of funding are set in stone, but SBMs should feel empowered to join district advisory groups that can collectively influence direction with a wide variety of stakeholder perspectives. 

Following the presentation on the LCAP, students gathered in break out rooms to participate in a choose-your-own adventure themed activity to practice the necessary steps for SBMs to achieve rights to participate in the LCAP process. Students then gathered again as a whole to play an LCAP themed Kahoot game.

Thank you to Léo Corzo-Clark, Addie Craig, Isa Sheikh, and Joe Brawdy from the Curriculum Committee for being such amazing facilitators and presenters. 

Attached to this email is the slidedeck from tonight’s presentation with helpful links, as well as a Sample Bylaws document for SBM rights. These resources will be helpful in guiding your understanding of the LCAP and how it impacts your constituents. Please contact Léo Corzo-Clark: sbmresourcesdirector@csbma.org if you want to set up a one on one collaboration meeting with our resource team. 

Thank you to all the students who came and we hope you took away a better understanding of the intricacies of the LCAP. The second workshop will be an in-depth exploration of each of the eight LCAP priorities, and how each priority is connected to serving students in your district. There will also be a segment on using the LCAP to leverage change in your district. The second workshop will be held on March 17th from 6-7. We hope to see you there!

Student Bill of Rights Workshop

On Wednesday, December 16 of the year 2020, CSBMA hosted a virtual workshop that explained the Student Bill of Rights

The CSBMA Curriculum Committee headed by Léo Corzo-Clark taught delegates how to write and present a Student Bill of Rights to their District Board of Education. A Student Bill of Rights is essentially a working document that lists the rights of students within a school district. A Student Bill of Rights protects students’ right to quality education and allows students to feel safe when speaking out against inequities in their school district. The purpose of creating a Student Bill of Rights is for students to have easy access to their rights as students; a Student Bill of Rights should include student rights listed in existing board policy and it should be publicized online and on school sites. 

CSBMA delegates also practiced how to coordinate public comments. Students and community members are allowed to express their views or ask questions within public hearings at district board meeting. Public comments are essential to approving resolutions, like the Student Bill of Rights, at board meetings. Board members are more likely to vote for a resolution if students publicly support the resolution. Public comments from students are an excellent way to show support for resolutions. 
Click here for a Mock Student Bill of Rights Resolution and here for a sample backup.

Workshop Series

On October 14, CSBMA hosted a virtual workshop for their members focused on the newly established California State Seal of Civic Engagement and Mental Health days in the context of school absences.

Presented by Michelle Alas, delegates learned more about the newly initiated California State Seal of Civic Engagement and how to implement this within their local districts. This Seal is a graduation recognition for students who are already participating in and are knowledgeable about their democracy. It encourages and creates pathways for pupils in elementary and secondary schools to become civically engaged in democratic government institutions at the local, state, and national levels. Bringing the State Seal of Civic Engagement to your district will further the vision in assuring that all California students, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, will have early and frequent access throughout their PK-12 education to high-quality civic learning opportunities that enable students to learn about civic and political issues, discuss and deliberate issues while considering multiple viewpoints, and work with others to take informed action to address to real world problems. Resources to pass this legislation and bring this historic recognition to your community can be found in the California State Seal of Civic Engagement presentation. 


CSBMA President Zachary Patterson presented an opportunity for student board members in California to take the lead in establishing excusable mental health days in their local districts. The conversation surrounding this issue has been ongoing in states like Oregon and Utah where students took the lead to pass statewide legislation that permitted students to have an excused absence from school for mental health reasons of any kind. A sample resolution for beginning this process can be found in this presentation along with comprehensive strategies to succeed in putting mental health days into practice in your district.