Building Skilled Leaders and Effective Boards

OnBoard is an interactive learning experience designed for both individual school directors and board-superintendent teams. As a comprehensive learning system, OnBoard’s aim is to help school directors provide visionary leadership and perform effective governance and strategic advocacy.

Released in Phases

WSSDA is building the OnBoard professional learning system in phases. With each phase, more interactive learning experiences in more topics will be come available. Below are the topics in which WSSDA has already begun offering training.

Training Topics

Commitment to Educational Equity

As a result of the passage of SB 5044 in the 2021 legislative session, school directors are required by law to receive training on the topics of equity, inclusion and cultural proficiency as they relate to education. WSSDA is required by that same law to develop and provide such training.

Educational equity is an outcome that is achieved when each and every student has what they need to develop their full academic and social potential. At the governance level, school directors have a significant influence on creating the conditions and holding the district accountable for educational equity through policies, budgeting and strategic goals and initiatives. Click the button below to learn more.

School Finances and Budgeting

One step leads to another in this training series on public education funding and budgeting in Washington state. The first three steps can be taken as needed, but steps 4 and 5 have prerequisites. Each training session takes about three hours.

Untangle the complexity of state funding, which is the primary financial support for Washington’s K-12 schools. Explore the primary categories of general apportionment funding, expand your knowledge about funding of the six Basic Education programs, and gain an overview of the four Basic Education categorical programs. The knowledge you gain will be immediately applicable to your work in guiding, approving, and reviewing district budgets.

Prerequisites: None

Expand your knowledge of local and federal funding for school districts; review the different types of levies and bonds and the state’s approach for determining levy limitations; learn about Local Effort Assistance; get familiar with aspects of federal funding provided through the Every Student Success Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). This knowledge will help you plan for levies and bonds and guide the development and adoption of the district budget.

Prerequisites: None

Get to know the structure and basic terminology used in the district budget. Become familiar with the five funds used in district accounting and learn about the system used to code district revenue and expenditures. Making sense of “Section A” of a district budget and unlocking the basics of the budget coding system will allow you to decipher many types of information. The knowledge you gain will help you ask key questions when the board is involved in developing and monitoring the district budget.

Prerequisites: None

Learn about the key budget drivers for districts and the Financial Health Indicators developed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Examine the concepts underlying each indicator, identify how district profile scores are determined, and learn to navigate OSPI's website to access your district’s profile. All this information will help you provide board-appropriate guidance for financial soundness when developing and monitoring the district budget.

Prerequisites: Step 3 recommended but not required.

See the significant connection between the allocation of resources and progress toward your district’s vision. Explore three board commitments that research shows to be essential in the development of budget guidelines that are aligned with the board’s vision. These guidelines, along with financial soundness guidelines, are central to developing, monitoring and when necessary, adjusting the district budget. Review legally required budget status reports and customized district budget supplements that specifically support the board’s responsibility for monthly monitoring. All this information will help you provide board-appropriate guidance in budget development, ask key questions during monthly budget monitoring, and maintain the district’s vision through the budget.

Prerequisites: Step 4 or instructor permission.


“I have been a part of several other virtual trainings where an hour seemed like three hours. This was the opposite, three hours seemed like one.”

“The combination of the training being interactive and having the opportunity to work with multiple people of different backgrounds and skill sets magnified the benefit of this curriculum.”

Staff Contacts