Allwein Advocacy Award

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth.

The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award

The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform.

Who is eligible? Nominees may be an individual school board member, or the entire board of a school district, intermediate unit, or career and technical school (including superintendent or chief school administrator). All nominees must be current members of PSBA.

Who can nominate? Nominations may come from several possible sources, including: 1) A PSBA member may nominate an individual recipient who may be a member of his/her own board or another PSBA member board; 2) A PSBA member board may nominate itself; 3) A superintendent or chief school administrator of a PSBA member entity may nominate on behalf of a board.

What is the timeline/process? PSBA will open the nomination process and make applications available each spring. A committee comprised of school board members appointed by the PSBA president will review all nominations after the deadline has passed and will make a decision prior to the association's annual School Leadership Conference. No PSBA staff will be members of the committee or have any participation in or influence on any decision made by the committee. The winner will be notified in September and awardees will be recognized and receive a plaque during the annual School Leadership Conference. A notice of the award will be made in PSBA publications and website, and a news release will be issued to the local media of the recipient.

What are the award criteria? Awardees will be selected based on the description and/or evidence provided in the nomination form that shows how they are working to affect educational policy and legislation through effective advocacy at the local, state and/or national levels. Work must be related to the most recent legislative session, and a description and/or evidence of efforts must be included with the application for nomination. A scoring system will be used to determine a recipient.

Recipients of the award will be selected with the following criteria and considering the diverse activities that may be included within each area:

  • Impact on legislation or legislators -- Actions that have an effect on advancing public education consistent with PSBA policies, generating support and/or raising new awareness among legislators.
  • Mobilizing grassroots advocacy -- Actions that mobilize legislative advocacy by fellow board members and/or members of the community.
  • Raising public awareness -- Actions generating support for and raising awareness among the state policymakers, media and the general public regarding a specific legislative issue or issues.

Within the above three criteria, additional points may be awarded for these factors:

  • Advocacy efforts that include multiple components that serve to frame an issue, develop alliances, and gather and disseminate date relevant to moving the agenda forward.
  • Local innovation
  • Consistency of effort

The following are examples of the diverse types of activities that may be indicative of the individual or board's efforts in the above criteria, but are not the sole factors in determining eligibility or scoring:

  • Keeping the local school board updated on legislative issues, and initiating advocacy efforts (such as the adoption of resolutions, letters, etc.) as necessary.
  • Strengthening alliances with legislators and other state policymakers through personal visits to explain issues from the public school perspective and to encourage them to adopt legislation that is supportive of public education and beneficial to students. Personal visits include meetings at the legislators' local or Harrisburg offices, as well as through invitations to legislators to visit the school entity.
  • Contacting legislators and other state policymakers through phone calls, emails, letters and/or other methods to discuss issues, particularly in response to PSBA Calls to Action.
  • Participating in PSBA's legislative advocacy program, including activities related to platform development as well as other activities related to developing or expressing PSBA's position/policy on legislative issues.
  • Encouraging other professionals, residents/participants and/or other community stakeholders to become active advocates on behalf of public education.
  • Educating the media to garner positive attention regarding the value of public education as well as the impact of current legislative proposals upon the local school entity. This may include activities to increase media attention such as submitting op-ed articles and letters to the editor, and conducting meetings with local editorial boards and education reporters, media appearances, press conferences, etc.
  • Educating and engaging parents and the community regarding the value of public education as well as the impact of current legislative proposals upon the local school entity. Such activities include distributing articles and information through newsletters and website, meeting with local PTA/PTOs and asking for their advocacy support, discussing the local impact of issues at board meetings, conducting public forums, etc.