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Student Trustee Action Readiness Training

The   START  Process

Once a year, NSBMA hosts a virtual three-day conference dedicated to preparing student members for the challenges and excitement of the student board member role.

The START process incorporates both informational and experiential learning in order to train student board members on the essentials of board service.

Alongside learning about school board governance, LEA budgeting, administrative policy, constituency engagement, and more, student board members also get to practice each of these aspects of board service through Council Sessions and the creation of their START project: a complete personalized student board member policy proposal to the board of education. 

Delegates work with fellow student board members and a trained council staff member, a former student board member, themself to complete their START project. At the end of the 3-day conference, the delegates have a chance to present their project to NSBMA's Intergenerational Educational Partner Cohort, a group of esteemed educational leaders from across the nation including superintendents, board of education presidents, non-profit CEOs, and policymakers.


NSBMA's START Conference is split into two organized session types: General and Council Sessions.  

General Sessions

General sessions are held with the entire delegation. They are led by the START Conference Directors and often include field-expert guest speakers.

In General Sessions, student board members:

  • receive training on essential aspects of board service, such as board meeting procedure, administrative policy, LEA budgeting, student outreach, and more;

  • select their START proposal topics and groups;

  • experience a Mock Board of Education meeting;

  • learn about NSBMA, our resources, and additional opportunities for student board member advocacy and involvement

  • present their finalized START proposal to NSBMA Intergenerational Education Partner Cohort for feedback and exposure.

Council Sessions

Council sessions are held in "Council Groups" of student board members all working on the same START proposal topic.​ They are led by a START Council Staffer and assisted by a START Research and Policy Staffer, both trained and experienced former student board members. 

In Council Sessions, student board members:

  • work with their Council Staffer and Research and Policy Staffer to brainstorm, ideate, draft, and finalize their START project;

  • are guided through the intricate and complex considerations and decisions made in policy creation;

  • bond and network with fellow student board members from across the nation;

  • receive personalized feedback from the esteemed and accomplished former student board members highlighted by NSBMA

Why should your Student Board Member attend NSBMA's START?

NSBMA is the only organization offering training and professional development exclusively dedicated to serving the thousands of students on school boards in the country. 

START is an authentic and engaging learning experience that uniquely matches the experiences of a student board member. 

Bringing together student board members from across the nation, NSBMA is the only national convening of student trustees across the nation.


START immerses student board members into their incoming roles like no other training, ensuring that START delegates start their term on the right path. 

NSBMA is a bipartisan organization dedicated to supporting every student board member in the pursuit of improving their school system. 


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"The START Conference is an immersive training and professional development experience all student board members should attend."

Naomi Porter, 2022-2023 California State Student Board Member

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