A large group of students, school board members, and school administrators gather for a group photo.

Members of the Pontiac School District Board of Education and district administrators gathered to honor students for a range of accomplishments, including presentations at the Alumni of Color Conference at Harvard University, achievements in academics, the arts, sports, and more.


An excellent education is a vital component of a successful, thriving urban community. Having a dedicated board of education can ensure that an excellent education is prioritized at the highest level by committing to the creation of a culture that encourages and values collaboration and always puts students’ needs at the forefront. The board’s participation is vital and should not be underestimated.

Board members should be well-versed in educational issues and understand the importance of equitably funding programs to secure the success of all students. They set a vision and policy goals to improve student outcomes and create a supportive educational environment that promotes parent and community engagement. Closing the technology gap is another vital part of their role. By making certain that each of these elements is addressed, urban boards of education can create school systems conducive to successful learning and educational attainment.

As technological advancements continue to shape the future, it is increasingly necessary to ensure digital equity for underserved communities of color. This issue must be addressed proactively rather than reactively for the digital divide to be bridged. Partnerships between internet providers and school districts can be an effective solution. The goal of these partnerships should be to provide much-needed resources to underserved communities, creating a more level playing field when it comes to accessing technology for urban students.

To provide excellent education and digital equity, obtaining adequate funding is vital. It is crucial that school districts focus on finding sustainable funding sources through grants and other programs to guarantee that educational and digital equity goals are achieved in an effective and long-term manner. Past funding initiatives have created successful programs, such as library resources, coding programs, and local training. However, too often these initiatives have been short-term and unsustainable. Measures must be taken to make certain that funding remains allocated towards technology and digital equity for communities in need for the foreseeable future.

Finally, in addition to finding sustainable funding sources, school districts should strive to create a sense of community ownership and buy-in. Through collaboration with local leaders, organizations, and businesses in underserved communities, citizens can be empowered to play a part in the process. Programs should be established for school faculty to educate students and their families on the importance of digital access, offering resources and support. Furthermore, schools must create an environment that encourages active community participation and involvement. Board members must ensure that there are meaningful opportunities for parents, teachers, students, and other community members to engage in the decision-making process and that their voices are valued and respected.

Gill Garrett is the 2023-25 chair of the CUBE Steering Committee and president of Michigan’s Pontiac School District Board of Education.


Around NSBA

Six students conduct a science experiment with potatoes and electrodes.

2024 Magna Awards: Silver Award Winners

The 2024 Magna Awards program recognizes 15 exemplary district programs in three enrollment categories as Silver Award winners.