Submission guidelines

OSBA accepts article submissions for the OSBA Journal magazine and the School Management News newsletter.

OSBA Journal
The Journal — OSBA’s flagship publication — is the only education-related magazine sent to all of Ohio’s public school board members, superintendents, treasurers and school officials. Published six times a year as a membership service, the Journal has a circulation of more than 5,500. Digital issues are publicly available.

The Journal’s aim is to serve school board members with information and insights to help them be effective in their governance role. Generally, these are individuals who wish to do the best job possible for their schools and communities; have little or no formal instruction or experience in education or government; have other demands on their time (including a full-time vocation outside of school board work); and seek material that is accessible and relevant.

The school board fills a role different from all the others in public education. The Journal addresses the needs of public bodies whose job it is to set goals and direction for their local systems of education, adopt school district policies and monitor results.

Stories must achieve one of the following:

  • Provide insight into educational issues and trends.
  • Help board members understand their roles and perform more effectively.
  • Convey information to help school boards deal with state and federal policies.
  • Show boards how to improve student achievement, build relationships with their communities, set and evaluate policies and carry out other aspects of school district governance.

Columns versus articles — There is a difference:

  • Columns share the opinions of the author.
  • Articles are written in the third person and should be objective, offer new information and limit opinions to those of the individuals interviewed rather than reflect the author’s opinions.
  • For both columns and stories, authors should verify statements and attribute facts or opinions to a person, report or publication. Such attributions should be written into the text and not listed as footnotes or endnotes. For example: “according to Superintendent Jane Roberts” or “according to a 2005 Harvard University study” or “as reported in the July 2021 issue of School Administrator magazine.”

Eliminate jargon:

  • Not all of our readers have education backgrounds, so please avoid specialized terminology. Subject matter should be clearly defined and explained in a way that is easily understood.
  • Be direct. Write for the Journal in the same way you would explain the subject verbally to someone whom you were trying to help.

Tips for improving your chances of getting published:

  • Define the topic and approach carefully. It's usually better to treat a narrow topic in depth than a broad topic superficially.
  • Be direct and use your expertise. Write for the Journal the same way you would converse with someone you were trying to help rather than trying to impress.
  • Ask yourself:
    • Will school board members consider the issue important?
    • If not, can I reveal its importance by relating it to something that is of known concern to school boards?
  • The article must be written in a journalistic style, which is different from academic or research styles that many submitters are accustomed to. 
    • Journal articles begin with the most relevant, interesting or important point and proceed with supporting detail. The “inverted pyramid” metaphor describes this style of writing. 
    • Academic writing is different: Academic papers usually start with data or methodology and build to conclusions. An academic piece can be re-written and edited for publication in journalistic style.
  • Illustrations that help tell the story are appreciated. Photographs, drawings, infographics, charts, tables, etc. should be labeled with explanatory captions and credits and submitted with the article. 
  • Article length: We like to say, “long enough to tell the story,” but we also understand that writers like goals (or limits). Journal articles usually range from 1,000 to 2,000 words. It’s very important to be clear and compelling while treating the subject matter with the necessary depth to educate the reader. 

We value expertise. The Journal editor will work with authors to achieve the appropriate structure, style and format while maintaining the author’s voice.

School Management News
School Management News is a monthly school management newsletter designed to provide districts with the latest news affecting day-to-day operations. Topics include:

  • labor relations
  • human resources
  • business and finance
  • arbitration awards
  • State Employment Relations Board decisions
  • court decisions
  • labor contract settlements
  • district and building-level management considerations
  • other relevant commentary

The audience for School Management News includes school district superintendents, treasurers, administrators and school board members. The writing may be more technical to explain how a topic affects school district operations. In spite of its technical nature, the writing should be clear, concise and free of educational jargon. Articles should be written in a journalistic style, beginning with the most relevant, interesting or important point and proceeding with supporting detail. The “inverted pyramid” metaphor describes this style of writing.

Submissions must answer a question or offer a solution to a challenge school districts or board members are dealing with. Articles that are a sales pitch, an advertisement or solely focus on selling a product or service will not be accepted.

Submitting an article or proposal for the Journal or School Management News and what comes next
Submit your article or proposal via email attachment to the address below. Include your name, address and telephone number. Give your name exactly as you wish it to appear with the article and provide a brief author identification blurb that includes your professional title and any qualifications that pertain to your article.

If the article was previously published, please include details and an internet link, if available.

We edit everyone in varying degrees for length, style, clarity and content. Although we might reach out to the author for clarification, we will not seek the author’s approval on final edits.

Acceptance and publication
Proposals and articles for consideration may be submitted at any time. The publication editor will acknowledge receipt of your article as soon as possible. A decision on the disposition of your article may take several weeks. In some instances, there is a lead time of up to a year before your article appears in print. 

We do not accept:

  • Advertisements cloaked as stories or columns, fiction, humor, poetry or book reviews.

Please direct questions, proposals and submissions to: