January 12, 2021
Ramsey School District has reached an uncommon pinnacle of achievement, not by students this time but by the people elected to serve them and the community. Ramsey’s Board of Education has achieved board certification from the New Jersey School Boards Association.
The complex process can be considered in-depth training for volunteers, taking what the state already mandates for school board members and pushing it to a higher level.
“Certification is not an easy or required path, but we approached it strategically because of its many benefits,” said Laura Behrmann, who was elected to a fifth term as board president on Jan. 5. “It has made us a more informed Board of Education, which will make us a more effective Board of Education.”
To attain certification, Ramsey school board members participated in hours of training that covered group process, decision-making, planning, effective meetings and a focus on student achievement. With guidance from NJSBA, they participated in a complete review of the district’s policies and an analysis of the negotiated teacher contract. They also committed to continuous improvement by pledging to complete a self-evaluation each year.
“Board certification involves a rigorous process of group training,” said Janet Bamford, Chief Public Affairs Officer for NJSBA. Board certification is a program of the organization’s Board Member Academy; NJSBA has recognized “only a small number of boards in the state” as certified, she said.
According to NJSBA, team development and training is identified as one of the Center for Public Education’s Eight Traits of Effective School Boards that distinguishes high-achieving districts that positively impact student achievement.
Ramsey’s certification comes in tandem with New Jersey’s designation of January as School Board Recognition Month. It acknowledges the essential role school board members play in the lives of nearly 1.4 million children as they set guiding policies, determine curriculum, manage financing and oversee staff decisions.