Beyond the benefits: 6 reasons to join ACSA

January 3, 2018 ACSA Writer

1. We share your priorities

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the U.S., serving over 18,000 California educators. Founded nearly half a century ago, ACSA was the first operative united administrator organization in the nation.

ACSA serves people who care about becoming better leaders, making sure that all children are treated fairly, finding new ways to build a community with their professional peers, and advocating education-related issues to local and national government. Our mission is to be the driving force of education in California and beyond.

2. Connect with like-minded individuals

ACSA members share ethical standards, with a focus on closing the educational gap and promoting equity. Members can attend webinars, conferences, and events on current and timely, as well as timeless topics, from in-class practices to leadership and advocacy in the community. Academies are tailored toward specific positions, while training zero in on a topic, from “Having Hard Conversations” to Equity Institutes, which examine issues of integrity, race, and ethnicity through a culturally proficient lens.

Under the guidance of ACSA’s Governmental Relations Department, you can team up with colleagues locally and statewide to influence state and national policies, share and create promising practices, and take an active part in the evolution of education and your profession. You can also join your region and participate in ACSA’s spring Annual Legislative Action Day, where hundreds of school administrators’ voices are heard when they meet face-to-face with legislators and policymakers.

3. Grow with the ACSA community

ACSA’s goal is to improve your career. Most people have heard that mutually beneficial relationships in the professional realm are essential to accessing new opportunities and tools for growth. Building a community of like-minded and helpful peers on your own takes tremendous effort. time, and a self-starting attitude. Not only do you need to locate potential mentors, legislators, and knowledgeable administrators, you have to organically catch their interest and find friendly common ground.

ACSA alleviates this difficulty with events like the Leadership Summit, which began in 1988 and was attended by more than 900 people in 2016 (the next one is on November 2-4, 2017). ACSA’s conferences are tailored to various roles, including superintendents, principals, and negotiators. The events are designed to enable members to meet, bridge communication gaps, and build lasting personal connections in a learning environment. If you can’t make it to the Summit, check out our academies for new and aspiring Superintendents, Personnel Directors, Business Managers, special education leaders, and more.

Superintendent Deborah Flores of Gilroy USD, under whose guidance CAASPP scores exceeded state averages after API scores rose to 804, and the dropout rate lowered significantly, won ACSA’s 2016 Superintendent of the Year Award. She said:

“ACSA supports me… keeping me informed on critical and emerging issues – I always look forward to reading EdCal and other informational pieces; advocating for important changes in our field and at the legislative level; and executing useful, productive conferences… an effective forum for networking and sharing concerns with colleagues. Earlier in my career, I called the ACSA office for advice on key issues and found the support and expertise from staff to be incredibly helpful. This is still an important service for administrators.”

Flores was honored at the 2016 Leadership Summit in San Diego on November 11, 2016.

4.  An association of long-term support

Out of a 546-member survey, 375 people had gained so much value from ACSA that they had been members for over a decade. Another 218 had already been members for 5-10 years. 93% of members reported Professional Development events as valuable or very valuable, and 97% answered that ACSA’s legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education were also valuable or very valuable.

With ACSA’s backing, members have access to a huge cache of moral, as well as legal support and advice. Carol Waxman, who worked her way up from ESL teacher to principal at Petaluma Adult School and earned the statewide Adult Education Administrator of the Year Award in 2016, said, of being referred to join ACSA:

“[My principal] was correct in that this ACSA job-alike, ever evolving over the years, has been my lifeline… The more experienced adult education administrators in our region and greater Bay Area provided so much support and guidance.”

5.  We take your opinion into consideration

In ACSA’s 2014 membership survey, many people mentioned that they appreciated and would like more mentorship opportunities, so we now have a great new mentorship program. As of August 2017, there are 60 mutually beneficial relationships facilitated by the program - a unique and informal professional support service focused on the operational, technical, and managerial aspects of jobs. ACSA’s goal is to improve the effectiveness of administrative leaders, thereby increasing student success and protecting the valuable investment that is administrative personnel.

District and school administrators are expected to be great leaders from the very start, and ACSA helps these individuals hone their leadership skills as they gain practical, on-the-job experience. Mentoring is an excellent way to provide the confidential, practical support that so many new administrators need, and the mentorship program is free for ACSA members.

ACSA wants to enable each member to use their voice to both continually help improve ACSA and to advocate on the issues that matter most. Our Advocacy in Action program helps members build mutually beneficial relationships with regional leadership and advocate with more strength on timely issues, including universal access to learning.

Check out ACSA’s 6 Tips for Grassroots Advocacy and Connecting with your Legislator, and see our commitment to Advocacy in Action here.

6.  Our programs match your career journey

Are you investing in yourself as much as you could be?

Take a moment to consider your immediate and long-term goals. Do you want performance improvement? Funding changes? Career advancement? Where are the barriers to these goals? Check out ACSA’s upcoming events - we are certain that one or more of them can help you see issues in a new light and hone your leadership skills. As Forbes magazine puts it: “When you invest in your career and personal development, you must do it with the endgame in mind.”

Speaking of the endgame, we also CARE (Celebrate ACSA’s Retired Educators) and annually honor influencers, educators, and great administrators from across the state.

Check out this link to join ACSA today and gain access to year-round professional development events, training, and credential programs, educational articles, and publications, job alerts, advocacy campaigns, professional liability coverage, a vast network of educators and administrators, and much, much more.

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