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Student Trustee Action Readiness Training

August 16-18

What is START?


Recognizing the unique role of students serving on school boards, NSBMA's START Conference aims to train the nation's incoming Student Board Members in preparation for a term of service and dedication to a sole student constituency.


START trains Student Board Members through hands-on experience in brainstorming, developing, and presenting a Board of Education Policy Proposal, and simulated immersion into the role via a Mock Board Meeting. Students are divided into Council Groups focused on an issue area chosen by the entire delegation, in which they collaborate to create a proposal they presented to NSBMA's Intergenerational Partner Panel (IPP) Cohort at the end of the conference. These "Council Sessions" are hosted in conjunction with in-depth informational training on the budget, board governance, student outreach, district policy, among other topics.

Now Introducing START+

The Student Trustee Action Readiness Training (START) is back! Building on last year’s highly successful conference, this year NSBMA is proud to offer START+, featuring an expanded program that includes:



START+ Conference

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.


Three START+ Webinars

NSBMA will organize three webinars for START+ conference participants throughout the school year, taking place in the fall, winter and spring. Potential webinar topics are listed below, and we will give student board members the opportunity to indicate which topics they would be most interested in learning more about.


  • Civic Engagement

  • Environmental Sustainability & Climate Justice

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Technology and AI

  • Career Readiness for Marginalized Students

  • Student Board Member Voting Rights

  • Health & Wellbeing (e.g., mental health, sex education and teenage pregnancy, access to menstrual products, nutritional school food, etc.)

  • Student Access to Essentials

  • Intergenerational collaboration

Ongoing, tailored START+ support

We want to make sure you are supported to succeed in your role as a student board member, whether on policy, board governance and procedures or any other area relating to your mandate.


Following the START+ conference, you will have the opportunity to receive additional support, for example through virtual office hours, feedback on a campaign or policy proposal, access to additional resources, as well as peer-to-peer or near-peer knowledge exchange.


START+ Schedule



Please work to finalize any attendee changes and notify us by the following dates in order to secure a refund and ensure the best conference experience for all attendees. You may submit a change request by emailing to be considered for a refund. Changes on or before July 16th: Fees will be refunded in full. Changes on or before July 26th: 50% of fees will be refunded Changes after August 2nd: Fees will not be refunded.

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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