Boost Knowledge

School board members make decisions that have significant and long-term consequences for their students, schools and communities. To equip school board members with the necessary knowledge to fulfill their responsibilities, the Arkansas General Assembly requires board members to receive and report annual training.

The complex challenges of education require policymakers and administrators to address problems from multiple perspectives and across disciplines. As a result, school board members benefit from instruction in the following areas:

  • School laws and regulations
  • Improving student achievement
  • School finance
  • Community relations
  • School operations
  • Effective governance

ASBA develops seminars, conference sessions and customized training programs that provide information on these and other topics.

In 2009, the Legislature revised the statute outlining the powers and duties of school board members. Click here for § 6-13-620 which describes what board members may do in their elected roles. In 2011, the Legislature passed a requirement that school board members receive training in how to read and interpret an audit. That law, now Act 1213, is linked here. The law that addresses board training and reimbursement is  6-13-629, which is linked here. In 2019, Act 1029 (linked here) was passed by the Arkansas Legislature. It requires that board members must receive training in school safety and bullying.

Required Training

A.C.A. § 6-13-629 requires annual professional development for Arkansas school board members:

  • All school board members must acquire at least six (6) hours of training every calendar year.
  • Newly elected board members must achieve at least nine (9) hours of training by December 31 of the calendar year that follows the calendar year of their initial election.
  • School districts must publish in their annual reports the number of training hours each board member has earned.
  • If a board member fails to meet the annual training requirement, the board member must be removed from the school district board of directors unless:
    • The board member received the number of training hours the board member was deficient within a thirty (30) day cure period that begins after the school district’s January board meeting; or
    • The reason the board member was unable to receive the number of deficient training hours during the cure period was due to the board member’s military service or an illness that is attested by the board member’s treating physician.
  • Failure for the board to remove a board member who failed to meet the annual training requirement and who does not meet one of the above exceptions may result in the school district being placed on probationary status for violating the Standards For Accreditation.
  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education rules allow carryover of excess board training hours for up to three calendar years.

Recognizing the important role the school board has in maintaining the school district’s fiscal status, the Arkansas General Assembly requires that the initial nine (9) hours of training a board member receives include training related to how to read and interpret a school audit. Act 1029 of 2019 also requires that all board member receive training in Student Safety and Bullying during their initial nine (9) hours of training.

ASBA hosts numerous conferences and seminars every year which provide board members with approved training credit to meet the state requirement. Please visit the Conference & Workshop Opportunities page for a wide range of professional development opportunities or the Upcoming Events page.

Recognition Programs

The ASBA Awards Programs recognize both individuals and whole boards for their continuing education and pays tribute to entire boards whose members have all attained specified training development levels. ASBA also awards special recognition annually to two boards and one individual whose dedication and ethical service have made a positive and notable impact on the students in their districts.

Individual Member Development Award Program

The deadline for submitting hours to receive individual boardsmanship awards is four weeks prior to the ASBA Annual Conference.

Members complete progressive levels of training to enhance boardsmanship skills and earn hours through board development activities. The recognition levels of authorized activities are:

  • Outstanding Board Member (only members elected before January 1, 2018) - any 25 hours of ASBA training credit
  • Certificate of Boardsmanship (only for members newly elected after January 1, 2018) – at least 25 hours of ASBA training credit and must include the following:
    • 6 hours of the ASBA New Board Member Institute
    • 3 hours of ASBA Regional Meeting
    • 2 hours additional ASBA hours in each of the following areas: Finance, Governance, Legal, and Student Achievement (academic programs/needs, understanding data, etc.)
    • 8 additional hours of ASBA electives

  • Members elected after January 1, 2018 must earn a Certificate of Boardsmanship before being eligible to earn any of the following awards, regardless of total number of hours earned:
    • Master Board Member – at least 50 hours
    • Pinnacle Award – at least 200 hours
    • Platinum Award – at least 400 hours
    • President’s Award – 500 hours or more
    • ASBA School Board Service Award – 30 or more years of school board service

ASBA tracks board members’ participation in ASBA and NSBA events, and The Southern Region Leadership Conference. ASBA also records the hours earned and notifies board members when they achieve any of these six recognition levels. Each school district must notify the Arkansas Department of Education at the end of each calendar year regarding each school board member’s earned training credit toward the state-mandated requirement. ASBA’s online eMembership system assists districts in keeping records, but the district is responsible for maintaining official board training records.

Whole Board Award Program

This program recognizes achievement in education excellence and ethical service to students. Boards accomplish this through a shared vision, team effort and unified commitment to ensure the best possible climate and education opportunities in their communities. These two levels of awards go to entire school boards, rather than individual members.

  • Outstanding Board – earned when all members have achieved the individual Outstanding Board Member award and/or the Certificate of Boardsmanship
  • Master Board – earned when all members have achieved the individual Master Board Member award. The Master Board receives a commemorative plaque. After winning this award, the school district’s board is not eligible for this award again for at least five years.
School Board of Excellence in Leadership

This award recognizes school boards whose dedication and ethical service have made a positive impact on the students in their district. Districts will be chosen based on evidence from each of the following eight (8) criteria:

  • The board’s support for educational performance
  • Support for educational improvement projects
  • Commitment to a code of ethics
  • Maintenance of harmonious and supportive relationships among members of the board
  • Functions as a policy-making body with adherence to adopted policies
  • Provision of financial support for the school system
  • Participation in workshops and other performance improvement programs
  • Public relations efforts, including community awareness

Two awards may be bestowed each year:

  • 1 school district under student enrollment of  900
  • 1 school district above student enrollment of  900

Each award will be based upon a board’s performance over the school year immediately prior to the year in which the award is granted.

Dr. Daniel L. Pilkinton Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education

This honor is awarded to outstanding individuals who have made substantive contributions to public education. This award is presented at the Annual Conference in December.

ASBA Educational Foundation Scholarship Program

ASBA awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are children of Arkansas school board members and who will attend Arkansas institutions of higher learning in the fall. The awards are based on a student’s academic record and leadership potential. One award is made in each of the four congressional districts. The J.K. Williams Memorial Scholarship, established in memory of former ASBA Executive Director J.K. Williams, is awarded to a student pursuing an advanced degree in the educational field.

Conference & Workshop Opportunities

ASBA’s Annual Conference – This two-and-a-half-day conference, held every December, is the largest annual gathering of school board members in the state. General sessions feature noted speakers, while breakouts allow board members to choose from a variety of topics based on their needs and interests. The policy-making ASBA Delegate Assembly also convenes to conduct its annual business, and an exhibit hall features products and services of interest to the education community.

New Board Member Institute and New Board Member Boot Camp – These post-election workshops orient new school board members to their roles and responsibilities. The New Board Member Institute is held each Spring following school board elections and runoffs and the New Board Member Boot Camp is held on the first day of Annual Conference each December. School board members earn six hours for attending the New Board Member Institute or the New Board Member Boot Camp.

Regional Meetings – Every fall ASBA schedules dinner meetings in each of its 14 regions. These meetings enable board members and superintendents to network with their regional colleagues and to hear timely topical information about district governance and upcoming events.

NSBA Annual Conference and Southern Region Leadership Conference – These annual events feature outstanding national speakers and networking opportunities with school board members from other states. NSBA’s Annual Conference is held in the spring, while the Southern Region Leadership Conference, is held during the summer in one of the tri-states: Arkansas, Louisiana, or Mississippi. Board members earn training hours for the sessions that they attend and document to ASBA.

Joint Leadership Conference – Each spring ASBA and the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA) host the daylong Joint Leadership Conference. Hot topics pertaining to education usually make up the agenda. After a legislative session, conference emphasis is on new or revised Arkansas laws.

Fall Leadership Institutes – This one-day training is offered in various regions of the state. Programming is designed to help school board members increase their effectiveness and ability to support and promote district achievements and goals.

Seminars and Custom Training – ASBA offers a variety of seminars and custom training appropriate for board members and other school leaders. ASBA can schedule specialized training on requested topics at various locations. For more information contact Dr. Anne Butcher, Board Development Director, at (501) 372-1415.

Online Coursework

ASBA is pleased to offer online course opportunities for its members.

  • The deadline for taking an ASBA online course for credit this year is December 20, 2020. Any exams taken after that date may not be scored by December 31.
  • Courses may be completed for credit only once.
  • If you are uncertain whether you have taken a specific course, please contact Kathy Ivy at
  • Members may also verify credit hours earned by logging-in to their personal embrAMS (formerly eMembership) account. If you need assistance accessing login information, please contact Kathy Ivy at

COURSE FEES: The cost for each one-hour of credit is $40. Board members should advise the superintendent about the course and fee prior to completing the online course for credit so that the superintendent will anticipate receiving an invoice.


In partnership with the Arkansas PBS Television, Arkansas school board members have an avenue for accessing a number of video-based online professional development courses. Listed below are those currently offered (credit hours are in parenthesis):

  • Superintendent Evaluation Training (3 hours)
  • Module A: Using Data to Improve School Board Decision Making (1 hour)
  • Module B: Definitions, Concepts, and Processes For Understanding and Using Data (1 hour)
  • Module C: How Should Data Be Collected, Interpreted, and Used By Boards to Improve District Performance? (1 hour)
  • Module A: Legal Issues as Pertains to School Boards – Ethics (3 hours)
  • Inspired Teamwork and Leadership (3 hours)
  • ASBA Block I: Arkansas Laws and Rules Governing School Board Meetings (1 hour)
  • ASBA Block II: Parliamentary Procedures (1 hour)
  • ASBA Block III: Mock School Board Meeting Agenda (1 hour)
  • (New) Promoting Successful School Board Meetings (2 hours)
  • (New) A Forensic Review of School Board Meetings (1 hour)


To access these courses you will need to have an AR-PBS account, including a username and password.  In early 2020 ASBA courses for school board members were moved to Arkansas PBS’s Learn LMS (at the same time AETN became AR-PBS).  The UN and PW you used for AETN courses prior to 2020 will no longer work.


If you have not yet created a new account in Learn, you can do so by logging on to and following the instructions.

Your new account will be “pending” until you confirm your account.  To do this you will need to check your email for a confirmation email, open it and click to confirm your account.  If you don’t see it in your inbox, check your spam or junk folder.  If you don’t receive an email, contact the HELP desk at AR-PBS using the contact information shown below.


  • Persons attempting to create an account must first be listed in the ASBA database and then they must use the exact information they used for the ASBA database to create an account in the Learn LMS.  ASBA submits updated member information to AR-PBS on a quarterly basis.
  • Persons attempting to create an account and who are at first unsuccessful may not be in the ASBA database or they may be attempting to create an account with an email address that is not the one shown as their primary address in the ASBA database.
  • When setting up the account, you must follow the exact directions for creating a password.  Directly above the box for password creation are those instructions.  If these instructions are not followed precisely, a password will not be created.
  • Each account creator should write down all the account information they are using to create the account, i.e., email address, username, and password and keep it somewhere safe for future use.
  •  Be sure to find and respond to the confirmation email that you will be sent to activate your account.

If you need assistance, please contact the Arkansas PBS Help Desk

Arkansas PBS Help Desk
Monday - Friday 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Phone: (501) 682-0317
Closed on Arkansas State holidays

If you already have an account, click on “LOG IN HERE” below to choose and begin a course.

School board members, who wish to receive ASBA credit for the courses in this portal, should first complete a course in its entirety. This includes your review and study of the lesson materials, completion of the activities, assessments (80% mastery is the minimum required), and the associated course survey. At the end of the course, within the survey section, you will be asked if you wish to receive ASBA credit for completing it. If you mark “YES,” and fill in where indicated, your name, the school district where you are a board member, email address, and telephone number, your district will be invoiced for the course fee(s) and your credit will be documented in your embrAMS account.

Event Materials

Looking for presentations and handouts from the ASBA event you attended? Or, would you like to see what you missed if you weren't able to attend? Click on the date and event title below to view or download copies of any available materials from ASBA's special events.

ASBA encourages all members to BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, to access documents electronically and follow along during special events. To help, links to documents will be emailed to registered attendees prior to most special events.

Event materials will also be posted on this page the day of the event.

How to Prevent Employee-on-Employee Harassment Claims: Everything You Need to Know About What You (Probably) Aren’t Doing

   PRESENTER: Missy Duke, Attorney at Law, Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Calchus, P.C.

Construction-Related Contracts and Liability Releases: Why You Should Have *YOUR* Lawyer Review Everything Before You Sign

   PRESENTER: Jay Bequette, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.

Title IX: What You Do Not Know About the New Rules Could Really Hurt You

   PRESENTER:  Cody Kees, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.
Board Members, Personally Owned Technology and FOI Law: What Everyone Needs to Know

   PRESENTER:  Marshall Ney, Attorney, The Friday Firm

Freedom of Information Act/Executive Sessions/Ethics - Laws and Best Practices

Jay Bequette, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.

The Basics of Board Governance

Eric White, Board President, Bentonville SD.

School Board's Roles & Responsibilities in District Finance

Dr. Greg Murry, Superintendent, Conway Schools

2019 Agenda at a Glance

Wednesday Workshops 2019

Thursday Breakout Sessions 2019

Boot Camp Materials - The Basics of Board Governance 2019

Boot Camp Materials - Fundamentals of Fiscal Oversight & Audit Training

Boot Camp Materials - FOI 2019

Boot Camp Materials - ETHICS 2019

Wedensday WS - Adults Behaving Badly - Above the Line

Wednesday WS - Adults Behaving Badly - Above the Line Drawing

Wednesday WS - Adults Behaving Badly - Think Tank Reflection Guide

Wednesday WS - Adults Behaving Badly Article

Wednesday WS - Board-Superintendent Relationships Best Practices & Executive Sessions

Wednesday WS - Reframing Board Behaviors - !0 Habits

Workforce Development through Career Academy Pathways

Walking on Sunshine

Transitioning to a Trauma-Informed Model

Team Digital - Helping Arkansas Schools Transform

Supportive and Safe School Practices 3 - CDC preventing ACES

Supportive and Safe School Practices 2 - Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators

Supportive and Safe School Practices - Trauma Informed Schools Framework

Supportive School Practices to Capture Kids Hearts

Superintendent Search Process

Student Safety & Bullying - Arkansas Act 1029

Our Kids & Our Teachers Need Help

Presidents and Vice Presidents - Leadership from the Chair

New Superintendent- Now What

Is Your District Military Friendly

Inclusive, Inspired, & Inhouse-Strategic Planning 101

Health Issuse in Arkansas Schools

Get Better G.R.A.D.E.S.

Every Student - Every Classroom - Every District

Establishing a School District Police Force

Electronic Security Guidelines for Schools

Communication Protocol & Practices

Best Practices for Running Effective Board Meetings

Active School Shooter Response Team

What Great Boards Do Differently

Dr. David Lee, Associate Professor of Educational Administration, University of Southern Mississippi

Cell Phones: Search, Seizure and Sex Predators

Cody Kees, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.
Duane Kees, United States Attorney, the Western District of Arkansas

Gen Learning - Dr. Mark Gotcher

Mark Gotcher, Superintendent, Russellville School District

Ban the Fan? Dealing with Disruptive Adults

Kristen Garner, Staff Attorney, Arkansas School Boards Association

2019 Legislative Session Highlights & Implications For Your District
Dr. Richard Abernathy, Executive Director, AAEA
Dr. Tony Prothro, Executive Director, ASBA

Recent Changes to Law and Regulations: Financial Implications for Your District
Cindy Smith, Coordinator for Fiscal Services & Support, ADE

Rethinking Hiring Practices for a New Workforce Generation - UPDATED
Dr. Mark Gotcher, Superintendent, Russellville Schools

The Problem of the Underperforming Athletic Coach: A Guide for Board Members and Administrators
Kristen Garner, Staff Attorney, ASBA

Mental Health for Arkansas Students: A Priority in Search of a Plan
Dr. Joan Simon, Professor, University of Central Arkansas

Construction Defects: School District Alternatives and Solutions When Problems Occur
M. Chad Trammell, Attorney at Law, Trammell Piazza Law Firm, PLLC

Cell Phones: Search, Seizure and Sex Predators
Cody Kees, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.
Duane Kees, United States Attorney, the Western District of Arkansas

Garnishments: School Districts and the (Inadvertent) Unauthorized Practice of Law
Abtin Mehdizadegan, Attorney at Law, Cross Gunter Witherspoon and Galchus

Ban the Fan? Dealing with Disruptive Adults
Kristen Garner, Staff Attorney, ASBA

Trending Topics for 2019: Special Education, Section 504 and the ADA
Jay Bequette, Attorney at Law, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.

Please visit the 2018 ASBA Annual Conference webpage to view presentations and materials from the conference.

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) & the Board’s Role
Link to My School Info:
Dr. Mike Hernandez, State Superintendent, OCSS/Arkansas Department of Education

Bubbles, Boundaries & Other Legal Advice for School Board Members
Kristen Garner, Staff Attorney, Arkansas School Boards Association

#EngagementmattersAR: Recommendations for Successful Stakeholder Engagement
Kim Wright, State Director for Stakeholder Communication/Family and Community Engagement, Arkansas Department of Education

Guarding Against Sexual Misconduct & Harassment in the Workplace & Responding Effectively When it Happens
Jay Bequette, General Counsel, Arkansas School Boards Association

School Board Basics for New Board Members

Basics of Board Governance
Eric White, School Board Member & Vice President, Bentonville School District

Fundamentals of Fiscal Oversight & Audit Training for New Board Members
Dr. Jamie Stacks, Superintendent, Wonderview School District

Freedom of Information Act/Executive Session/Ethics – Laws and Best Practices
Jay Bequette, ASBA General Counsel, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A.
Cody Kees, Staff Attorney, Bequette, Billingsley & Kees, P.A

Helping Districts Prepare: Safety Resources Available for Arkansas Schools
Dr. Cheryl May, Director, AR Center for School Safety

School Safety in Arkansas: Current Laws & Regulations
Courtney Salas-Ford, Deputy General Counsel, ADE

2018 Legislative Session Highlights and a Look at Upcoming Legislative Issues
Dr. Richard Abernathy, Executive Director, AAEA
Dr. Tony Prothro, Executive Director, ASBA

AR Act 950: Using and Maximizing Your District’s Panic Button
JP French, Arkansas Director of Strategic Accounts, Rave Mobile Safety

Putting “public” in Public Education: ESSA Reporting and the Need for Stakeholder Engagement in Planning
Deborah Coffman, Assistant Commissioner of Public School Accountability, ADE

#EngagementMatters: Powerful Partnerships and the Need for Communication
Kim Wright, Dir. for Stakeholder Communication/Family and Community Engagement, ADE
Meghan Ables, 2016 Teacher of the Year, AR Exemplary Educators Network, ADE

Please visit the 2017 ASBA Annual Conference webpage to view presentations and materials from the conference.

School Board Basics for New Board Members

Local School Board: A Foundation for Success
Sandra Porter, President, ASBA and Board Member, Bryant School District

FOI: Open Meeting Law and Executive Session
ETHICS: An Introduction to Statutory Ethics for School Board Members
Kristen Garner, ASBA Staff Attorney

The Arkansas School Board Member: Fiscal Operations & The Annual Audit

Dr. Mike Hernandez, State Superintendent for Coordinated Support Services, ADE

Arkansas/Mississippi Early Bird Session

Effective District Management Requires a Strong LEG: Leadership, Ethics, and Governance, Miranda Beard, Immediate Past President, NSBA and Board Member, Laurel Municipal School District, MS.

Concurrent Sessions

Board Behaviors Guaranteed to Lower Test Scores, Dr. David E. Lee.

Creating and Sustaining Collaborative School Board and Community Relations, Blaine Alexander

Everything You Never Thought You Needed to Know, Jay Bequette, ASBA general counsel, and Cody Kees, staff attorney, with Bequette & Billingsley P.A.

Governing Differently: Lessons from Districts with High Student Achievement, Dr. Ivan Lorentzen, retired professor of psychology at Flathead Community College in Montana

Leadership, Advocacy, and the Power of You, Jerry Don Woods, past president of the Arkansas School Boards Association

School Boards and Student Outcomes, Chuck Poer, vice president of education services, Bailey Education Group

Substitute Shortage or Attendance Issue: Do You Know Your Data? Henry Bledsoe, president/CEO, and Fredericka Hayes, human resources/compliance officer, Professional Educational Services Group

Closing General Session

Mississippi - Going Viral The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, MSBA Executive Director, and Alexis Cole, MSBA Marketing and Social Media Manager

Arkansas - A Realistic View of Future Board Elections and Legislative Sessions in Arkansas, Dr. Tony Prothro, ASBA Executive Director

2017 Legislative Session Highlights and Implications
Dr. Richard Abernathy, AAEA Executive Director
Dr. Tony Prothro, ASBA Executive Director

R.I.S.E. Arkansas: Promoting a Positive Reading Culture in Arkansas
Donna Ziller, ADE Special Advisor

School Facilities Update
Brad Montgomery, DPSAFT Director

What's New in Election Campaigns: Legislative Changes and Their Implications
Boyce Watkins, ASBA Advocacy Director

Lessons from the Trenches: Advice from Millage Veterans

Accountability Updates: Implications for Your District's Policy and Practice
Dr. Mark Gotcher, ADE Deputy Director
Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, ADE Assistant Commissioner of Educator Effectiveness & Licensure
Tina Smith, ADE Director of Special Projects

First Amendment in Schools
Cody Kees, Attorney at Law, Bequette & Billingsley, P.A.

Overtime Overhaul: What You Need to Know About Exempt and Non-Exempt Status and Other Wage and Hour Pitfalls
Missy Duke, Attorney at Law, Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C

Startup Lessons: Hiccups and Legal Quirks in Forming the New Jacksonville School District
Scott Richardson, Attorney at Law, McDaniel, Richardson & Calhoun

A Practical Guide to Providing Legally Compliant Employee and Student Hearings
Jay Bequette, Attorney at Law, Bequette & Billingsley, P.A.

Undocumented Students and Undocumented Parents: Legal Issues and Planning Strategically
Kristen Craig Garner, Staff Attorney, Arkansas School Boards Association

Please visit the 2016 ASBA Annual Conference webpage to view presentations and materials from that event.

Peak Performance University: 9 Essential Skills of the Workplace
David Rolland, Pangburn High School Principal, and Pangburn High School Teachers & Students

Time Serving Students Instead of Students Serving Time
Crystal Marquez & Roxanne Enix, Pea Ridge School District Directors

Mars and Venus: Teaching to Boys and Girl
Terri McCann, West Memphis Elementary Principal, and Bragg Elementary Teachers & Staff

A+ in Action
Sheila Whitlow, White County Central School District Superintendent; Beverly Froud, WCC Elementary Principal; and WCC Elementary Teachers and Students

2016 Fiscal Session Highlights, Dr. Richard Abernathy, AAEA Executive Director, and Dr. Tony Prothro, ASBA Executive Director

ESSA: What We Know & Don’t Know About the New Federal Legislation, Johnny Key, Education Commissioner

Looking Ahead: Planning Now and Taking Actions for Slimmer Financial Times, Robyn Keene, AAEA Financial Consultant

Facilities Update

Emerging Opportunities for Advancing Leadership

Hot Topic: Arkansas Schools of Innovation, Dr. Denise Airola, OIE Director

Schools of Innovation Continued: Real Success Stories from the Trenches

Please visit the 2015 ASBA Annual Conference webpage to view presentations and materials from that event.