Legally mandated training for school board members
Virginia law requires three types of training for school board members.
EVERY school board member is required to complete a training session for local officials on the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (COIA) provided by the Virginia Conflict of interest and Ethics Advisory Council (the Ethics Council) within two months of assuming office and at least once every two years thereafter.
Every ELECTED school board member is required to complete a training session on the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provided by the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council or the Board’s attorney within two months of assuming office and thereafter at least once every two calendar years. The FOIA Council provides both in-person training opportunities and on-line training which can be accessed here. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to get to the information about training for local elected officials such as school board members.
Record Keeping for FOIA and COIA training
School board clerks are responsible for keeping track of when each board member completes the required FOIA and COIA training, so be sure to let your clerk know when you complete the required training.
Professional Development Required by the Standards of Quality
Va. Code § 22.1-253.13:5 (aka Standard 5) establishes that every school board must require its members to participate annually in high-quality professional development activities at the state, local, or national levels on governance. That training may include, but isn’t limited to, personnel policies and practices; the evaluation of personnel, curriculum, and instruction; use of data in planning and decision making; and current issues in education. Virginia law does not specify how much training school boards members must get each year or what counts as the required professional development; each school board must make those decisions for itself. Local school boards follow a wide variety of processes for deciding what counts as the required professional development. Some have board members submit requests before a program is attended. Others approve the professional development when they vote to approve the expenditure for the fee for the program. What process to follow is a local decision. The important thing is that every board decides which trainings satisfy the legal requirement and that every member receives the required training.
If you have any questions about the professional development requirement or the certification process, please contact the Virginia Department of Education.