The National School Development Council (NSDC) is a confederation of school study or development councils located across the country. The Council embodies the philosophic and operational tenets of the school study and development council movement. Each of these regional, state, or county-based councils is, in turn, an association of local school systems that work together - usually in conjunction with one or more institutions of higher learning - on matters of common concern.

The councils are a grassroots effort to improve educators' skills and knowledge. Their activities range from publications and research assistance to conferences, professional development activities and special services such as executive searching.

Chartered in 1969 as a nonprofit organization in the state of Massachusetts, the National School Development Council provides study councils and their executive directors with a national-level organization that can serve as an advocate for local school interests and study council concerns. It is a confederation that operates on the concept of "pooling" and "sharing" resources.

At a time when education is faced with many complex challenges, the Council remains a cooperative and unifying force, helping all interested educators to seek ways to improve education at all levels. 


The National School Development Council has the following purposes:
  • to provide assistance to directors in the leadership of member study councils;
  • to provide assistance to groups considering the formation of a study council;
  • to share information between and among study councils;
  • to provide training sessions for executive directors, board members, and other representatives from the member study councils;
  • to provide a resource pool of talent for various professional development activities;
  • to initiate and conduct cooperative research endeavors;
  • to keep member study councils informed of current activities within the network of study councils;
  • to provide a vehicle for sharing, at reduced costs, programs, products, and publications of member study councils; and
  • to sponsor publications of interest to practicing educators

History of NSDC

School study and development councils, as a formal movement, were started at several universities in the Northeast between 1945-1950. In the early years, councils were usually administered by part-time executive secretaries or part-time directors. Most often, the executive secretary or director was a faculty member from the sponsoring institution of higher education who served at the discretion of the council and/or its governing board. This is still the prevalent pattern today, although some councils are free-standing organizations which are not sponsored by an institution of higher learning and they employ full-time directors.

In the early years of development, the executive secretaries and directors initiated informal meetings which were held just prior to the American Association of School Administrators annual conventions. In 1968, the directors decided to explore incorporation and the development of some formal structure for their organization. As a result, in 1969, the National School Development Council was chartered as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Massachusetts. 

Organization of NSDC

The National School Development Council, although a formal organization, maintains the flexibility of the founding council idea.
It is governed by a Board of Directors who elect officers at the NSDC Annual Meeting.
Its Board of Directors, by requirement of the Bylaws, includes geographic representation from various areas of the country.