Articles in the Conferences and Events category

Annual Conference early registration discounts end Jan. 10–see you in San Diego!

January 10 is the last day to receive early registration discounts for NSBA’s 73rd Annual Conference, to be held April 13-15 in San Diego. Join thousands of school board members, school administrators, vendors and other school leaders at this premier event. The General Sessions boast three superstars who will discuss their work in education:

Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, will speak at the opening General Session on April 13. The star of “A League of Their Own,” “Thelma and Louise,” and “The Accidental Tourist” now works with film and television creators to reduce gender stereotyping and increase the number of female characters in media targeted for young children. Davis will speak about the key role media plays in children’s development.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the world’s most engaging and passionate science advocates. From PBS to NASA to Presidential Commissions, organizations have depended on Tyson’s down-to-earth approach to astrophysics. Last year, Tyson notoriously persuaded director James Cameron to change a scene in the 3D version of his legendary film, Titanic. Turns out the night sky in the heartbreaking scene where the main characters meet their fates in the frigid sea had a totally wrong starfield. (Get a sneak peek of Tyson’s expertise and entertaining style in this YouTube video where he explains the mistake.

Researcher Diane Ravitch, one of the most passionate and knowledgeable advocates for public education, will share her expertise on past and present education issues. Her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, makes the case that public education today is in peril and offers a clear prescription for improving public schools. Attendees who scored a seat to see Ravitch speak at NSBA’s 2010 Annual Conference were thrilled with her lecture.

In addition to the General Sessions, more than 200 topical sessions are scheduled on issues such as: Common Core State Standards, budgeting in tight economic times, new technologies, school climate and safety, and many others. Go to the annual conference website to view the full schedule of general session speakers, Focus on lectures, more than 200 topical sessions, and preconference workshops.

Joetta Sack-Min|January 10th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Annual Conference 2013, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

School leaders see firsthand the best ways to use technology in classrooms

The National School Board Association’s (NSBA) Education Technology Site Visits are one of the best ways to see firsthand the best ways to use technology in classrooms. Registration is now open for next year’s tours, sponsored by NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN).

Four school districts across the nation will demonstrate best practices and newest tools to help improve student learning through technology. The line-up includes Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the recent winner of the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education.

The events “showcase digital learning trends that have implications for district policies, funding, and questions of equity and access,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology. “These highly interactive visits help decision-makers consider those implications in light of real-world examples and innovative solutions through classroom observations, focused briefings, and conversations with school board members, teachers, administrators, and students in each of our host districts.”

Flynn recently discussed the site visits on Education Talk Radio with Keith Bockwoldt, Director of Technology Services for the Township High School District 214, one of the 2013 site visit hosts.

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The 2013 line-up includes:

Miami-Dade County Public Schools, March 6 – 8, 2013

Township High School District 214, Arlington Heights, Ill., March 13 – 15, 2013

East Penn School District, Emmaus, Penn., April 28 – 30, 2013

Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash., May 1 – 3, 2013

In Miami, examples of innovative technology solutions from the arts and P.E. to the district’s iPrep Academy will be highlighted during the site visit. Led by tech-savvy Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, the district is reinventing its classroom instruction and strategic use of technology with the focus on improving student achievement.

“Education decisions at Miami-Dade reflect a deep understanding that technology can enable today’s students to learn, create, and connect in new ways that will be essential to their future success,” said Flynn. “The district’s vision seeks to eliminate the digital divide by extending access to electronic resources, 24-7, across all subject areas.”

In Illinois, Township High School District 214 uses a cloud computing infrastructure to support learning in the 21st century and beyond. With the school board’s support, technology has been integrated throughout instruction and operations, and the articulation with seven elementary feeder school districts has strengthened the technology skills of students moving into high school. Through the use of innovative technology programs, such as those listed below, resources are used more effectively, teaching tools are enhanced, and costs have been reduced.

The East Penn School District is a leader in educational technology with an emphasis on online computing applications that support project based learning and problem solving skills using various mobile technologies. With our Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle, providing a hybrid model of on-demand learning, the district is “open” 24/7. East Penn has created a digital world that is available through the use of online lesson assignments, databases, videos, glossaries, blogs, wikis, forums and discussion groups.

And the Vancouver Public Schools is identifying, resourcing, implementing and supporting the enabling conditions for 21st century flexible learning environments. This strategic initiative includes standard classroom equipment, wireless deployments, one-to-one/mobile concepts, professional development, and a digital learning space/learning management system. The district also is deploying performance management tools, such as a Learner Profile, which collects and portrays data related to individual student learning as well as classroom, grade level and school-wide achievement. Additionally, the district is implementing a data dashboard based on its milestone benchmarks—high-leverage, high-yield indicators predictive of student success. To further personalize education, the district offers nearly two-dozen programs of choice. The new Vancouver iTech Preparatory, for example, is an early college, STEM magnet school that provides a technology-rich environment for middle and high school students.

Joetta Sack-Min|December 12th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Conferences and Events|Tags: , , , |

NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference to feature Geena Davis, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Diane Ravitch

Registration and housing for the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 73rd Annual Conference, to be held April 13 to 15 in San Diego, is now open. Join more than 5,000 school board members and administrators for an event with hundreds of sessions, workshops, and exhibits that will help your school district programs and help you hone your leadership and management skills.

General Session speakers include Academy Award winning speaker Geena Davis, who will be speaking about her work off-screen as founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Davis works with film and television creators to reduce gender stereotyping and increase the number of female characters in media targeted for children 11 and under. She will explain how media plays a key role in children’s development, and how her organization is making a difference.

Television star Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the world’s most engaging and passionate science advocates, will headline Sunday’s General Session. From PBS to NASA to Presidential Commissions, organizations have depended on Tyson’s down-to-earth approach to astrophysics. He has been a frequent guest on “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report”, R”eal Time with Bill Maher”, and “Jeopardy!”. Tyson hopes to reach “all the people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science.”

Monday’s General Session features acclaimed researcher and author Diane Ravitch, who has become one of the most passionate voices for public schools. Her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, makes the case that public education today is in peril and offers a clear prescription for improving public schools.

Learn more about the common core standards, new research on differentiated learning styles, and teaching “unteachable” children at the Focus On lecture series. Learn about new technologies for your classrooms as part of the Technology + Learning programs.

Special discounted rates are available for early registrants who sign up by Jan. 10, 2013. NSBA National Affiliate and Technology Leadership Network Districts save even more.

View the conference brochure for more details. Be sure to check the Annual Conference website for updates and more information.

 

 

Nevada’s Washoe County Public Schools District receives national urban education excellence award

The Washoe County School District has been awarded the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence for 2012.

The Nevada school system, which serves Reno and surrounding communities, was recognized for its school board’s resolve to improve student academic performance, engage parents and the community, and ensure that all students leave high school ready for college and careers.

Washoe County Public Schools District leaders

Washoe County Public Schools District leaders show off their CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence

“It’s a great honor, and a confirmation of the hard work of principals, teachers, and staff members,” said Washoe County Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “This award shows what is possible when board members work in partnership with the leadership team to implement reforms that change the lives of children every day.”

“We are honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the staff, parents, and students of the … school district,” said Ken Grein, president of the board of trustees. “Our board has joined with the district to listen to members of our community, learn about their concerns, and build upon their support to help more of our students succeed in school.”

The award was presented this past weekend during a luncheon at the CUBE Conference in Atlanta.

Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools and Prince George’s County Public Schools also were finalists for this year’s top honor.

Washoe County is a 63,000-student school system that, only a few years ago, outperformed others in its state but was receiving negative reviews from county residents. In 2009, the school board told the community it would make changes and began an exhaustive review, with community input, of the school system’s performance.

That effort led to the development of a five-point reform initiative, Envision WCSD 2015, Investing In Our Future, that aimed to institute performance management systems; engage parents and the community; develop effective teachers and instructional leaders; instill a caring and positive school climate; and ensure all students leave ready for college and careers.

This initiative helped the school system make noticeable progress. Graduation rates rose from 56 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in 2011; the achievement gap closed as third-grade math and reading scores for African-American and Hispanic students jumped double digits. District officials now use a variety of communications tools to market their schools and foster two-way communications with parents and community members.

“Washoe County has made tremendous gains in increasing its graduation rate, increasing the achievement of low-income and minority students, and placing highly qualified teachers in its schools with the greatest needs,” said Joseph S. Villani, NSBA’s Interim Executive Director. “Working closely with its superintendent, the school board set high expectations for all students and staff and engaged its community as partners.”

“Washoe County is an example of excellence for our state and for urban school districts across the country,” added Dotty Merrill, executive director of the Nevada Association of School Boards. “The school board, working with the superintendent, has done an exceptional job at developing a strategic plan with community involvement, and has focused on implementing that plan and continuously improving student achievement.”

The Washoe County school system was selected for the CUBE award by an independent judging panel based on materials submitted by the school district, independent follow-up research, and information provided by the district’s state school boards association.

The judges selected the winner based on the following four criteria: Excellence in school board governance; building civic capacity; closing the achievement gap-equity in education; and demonstrated success of academic excellence.

CUBE represents a total of more than 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion. CUBE helps urban school boards find solutions to challenges at the local level and helps them to strengthen their policy making effectiveness.

 

Del Stover|October 9th, 2012|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Conferences and Events, CUBE, Governance, Leadership, Urban Schools|Tags: , |

The importance of school board professional development

Check out the  Education Talk Radio show from Friday, January 13, 2012 with National School Board Association‘s Executive Director Anne L. Bryant discussing our upcoming 2012 Annual Conference in Boston and the importance of school board professional development and leadership.

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Alexis Rice|January 13th, 2012|Categories: Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, Leadership, Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Annual Conference 2012, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Teachers, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

Urban school boards, board member honored at New Orleans conference

CUBE Award Winner

Texas’ Mesquite Independent School District receives the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Three urban school boards were honored at NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) annual meeting in New Orleans on Saturday. Texas’ Mesquite Independent School District took top honors as the winner of the 2011 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence. Boston Public Schools and Nevada’s Washoe County Public Schools were named as finalists.

Mesquite Board President Kevin Carbo, board members Christina Hall and Cary Tanamachi, and Superintendent Linda Henrie accepted the award.

“We are very proud of our district’s accomplishments,” said Carbo. “This award is not just for the Board of Trustees, but for everyone in the district-from the administrators to the teachers to the auxiliary employees who day in and day out give our children their maximum effort.”

Henrie accepted the award on behalf of all of those across the country who are dedicated to public education. “This honor affirms that public education works and works well,” she said.

“This is just one more step in the right direction,” Carbo added. “We have more work to do, and CUBE just gave us a little more incentive to continue working toward a better future for our kids.”

The award recognizes excellence in school board governance, building civic capacity, closing the achievement gap (equity in education), and demonstrated success of academic excellence.

A 37,000-student school system located less than 20 miles east of Dallas, Mesquite has systematically made gains in student achievement and significantly closed achievement gaps while successfully rallying community support around the schools.

Eighty-four percent of students tested proficient in math in 2010, up from 67 percent in 2004. The percentage proficient in science grew from 52 percent in 2004 to 82 percent in 2010. Reading test scores rose from 82 percent to 91 percent proficient during the same time period, while social studies scores went from 86 percent to 95 percent passing.

While all subgroups showed improvement, minority students enjoyed particular gains, and the test score gaps between white and minority students closed significantly in all subject areas.

For more information on the winning district and the finalists, go here.

Also at the CUBE meeting, Arizona school board member Eva Carillo Dong was honored with the 2011 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award. Dong has been a member of the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board since 1999.

She was honored for her long-time dedication to the community and her strong belief that education can improve life for children in Sunnyside Unified, which serves more than 17,000 students.

President of the Sunnyside board three times in her 12 years of service, Dong has helped the district gain state and national attention for its innovative programs and initiatives to increase student achievement, reduce the dropout rate, and increase community engagement.

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to the educational needs of urban schoolchildren through school board service. Benjamin Elijah Mays, whom the award honors, was a teacher, minister, author, and civil rights activist who served as president of Morehouse College and the Atlanta school board from 1970 to 1981.

For more information on the awards and CUBE, go to www.nsba.org/cube.

Kathleen Vail|October 11th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, CUBE Annual Conference 2011, School Boards, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Analysis: NBC learned its lesson with this Education Nation

Glenn Cook, American School Board Journal’s editor-in-chief, attended NBC’s Education Nation summit in New York for the second straight year. Here are his observations.

You can’t blame traditional public school advocates if they were filled with dread when NBC announced that Education Nation would return this fall. Last year the network bought into the hype surrounding the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” inexplicably tying the event to a flawed film that exhorted charters as the pancea for public education’s ills.

Thankfully, NBC has learned its lesson. This year’s event took pains to correct past wrongs as it recognized the complexities school leaders face in managing a public system that is open to all.

Starting with a screening of “American Teacher,” a documentary that helped erase some of the “bad teachers” taste left by “Superman,” and ending with an appearance by former President Bill Clinton, Education Nation featured a strong balance of heavy hitters from education, philanthropy, and politics.

You also had a touch of celebrity — basketball player Lebron James, actress Jennifer Garner, and what amounted to a family reunion with former Gov. Jeb Bush and First Lady Laura Bush participating in sessions — but in this case, it fit the overall tone.

The key word here is balance. Last year’s programming was flawed because it exhorted simple antidotes to complex problems. This year, silver bullets were nowhere to be found, but calls for more effective teaching and improvements to early education were.

You can watch many of the sessions online at www.educationnation.com, but here is my list of highlights:

• Start with “Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters,” a fascinating hour-long session featuring Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, and three university professors. Held on Monday morning, it was the best, most concise presentation I’ve seen yet on why we need to reach children much, much earlier than we do.

• The dramatic rise in poverty rates was a focus throughout, especially in the session “What’s in a Zip Code?” moderated by Brian Williams. Poverty is reality for many people in today’s economy — Clinton was eloquent on this topic in the closing session — and communities must come together to do more.

• Education Secretary Arne Duncan was everywhere this year, participating in interviews with Tom Brokaw and responding to questions during various panels (a nice touch).

• We saw an entertaining back and forth between Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone and Diane Ravitch, author and professor of education at New York University. Their approaches are so different, but both made excellent points. Canada and Sal Khan, another Education Nation speaker, are scheduled to keynote NSBA’s 2012 Annual Conference.

• Teacher and student accountability, as you might expect, was a recurring theme. Michelle Shearer, the current National Teacher of the Year from Maryland’s Urbana High School, said teachers “want to be evaluated on things that really matter.”

“There are all sorts of different ways of looking at student growth,” she said. “Whatever evaluation looks like in the end, it has to be a system of multiple measures, because often what’s most important are those intangibles … that are tough to put on a check list.”

• At the same session, Khaatim El, a former member of the Atlanta school board, addressed the cheating scandal that has plagued the district he served for almost a decade. “We wanted to be the hype,” he said of the allegations, which are based on the state assessments. “We wanted to be the first to get it right so bad.”

But El noted the district also made huge gains in NAEP scores during that time, an achievement untouched but overshadowed by the scandal. “I would be remiss if I didn’t point to the hard work that many educators put in,” he said. “We focused on the basics. Literacy instruction in elementary school. Autonomy for principals. We invested in professional development. Those things were overshadowed by the cheating scandal. And they were good things for kids.”

The setting for Education Nation was not perfect — the big tent in Rockefeller Plaza is a good idea in theory, but the humidity and poor audio were ever-present distractions. And while this year’s session was far more substantive, future years should stop belaboring the problems and focus instead on how to solve them. Panels featuring districts that have been successful at “what works,” with ideas and content that are easily imitated and replicated, would be a valuable start.

Chances are good that will happen. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) had a strong presence in the planning and execution of the meeting. Anne L. Bryant, our executive director, met with NBC officials about the content and answered audience questions in a video Q&A format prior to the event. Mary Broderick, NSBA’s president, was featured in a panel session with the mayors of Albuquerque, Baltimore, and Newark.

“What we’ve heard from the last two days of this conference is that we need to come together around a sense of urgency,” Broderick said during her session, noting that it takes a shared vision between the school board, the mayor’s office, and the community. “The vision needs to be of excellence. If that cohesive message can be carried through our schools … there’s nothing off the table.”

Registration open for NSBA Annual Conference 2012

Registration is now open for NSBA’s 72nd conference, held for the first time in Boston, from April 21 to 23, 2012. Join school board leaders and administrators from across the country for this premier event for school boards to learn about education issues from a national perspective, understand how federal legislation and court decisions will affect your district, and gain insights into strategies to raise student achievement and save money in your district.

In addition to the new locale, the conference will offer more than 200 sessions, plus an expanded lineup of technology sessions, important legislative and legal advocacy issues, and new opportunities to learn about new products and services in the Exhibit Hall. Discounts are available to early-bird registration National Affiliate Districts and TLN Districts only, of groups of 10 or more for the same school district. Visit NSBA’s Annual Conference website registration page for more details.

Keynote speakers include Geoffrey Canada, a nationally recognized and passionate advocate for education reform and president/chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone, and Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform and not-for-profit organization. The General Session speaker for Saturday has not yet been announced.

Author and culinary star Chef Jeff Henderson will highlight the Sunday morning fellowship program with a talk entitled “From the Streets to the Stove: The Power of Potential.” Henderson spent 10 years in prison for dealing drugs, but while incarcerated, he discovered a passion for cooking and committed himself to turning his life around. He became the executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas and now hosts Food Network’s “The Chef Jeff Project,” which takes at-risk young adults and commits them to changing their lives through work with his catering company.
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Joetta Sack-Min|September 20th, 2011|Categories: Conferences and Events, Key Work of School Boards, Leadership, NSBA Annual Conference 2012, School Boards|Tags: , , |

The education reform hype

Blogger, E.D. Kain, has a great commentary today on his Forbes.com blog stating “there are no silver-bullets in education reform.”

Kain notes:

School reformers create a seductive narrative for the media and lawmakers alike. Foundations are lured to support radical changes because they promise radical results. It’s much more glamorous, after all, to put money into shiny new charter schools than to give those dollars to school districts. School choice and accountability sound good on paper, and films like The Lottery and Waiting for Superman pull on our heartstrings and paint pictures of selfish teachers lobbying hard against their own students. These films ignore not only the external factors leading to school failure – including poverty, lack of funding, and other societal issues – they also gloss over the many failed charter schools and choice programs across the country. Advocates of choice and accountability and the modern charter-school movement brush off the wildly varying results found from one charter school to the next. Like traditional public schools, charter schools with a higher percentage of white and Asian students and lower numbers of ESL students and other disadvantaged students fair much better than those with more mixed populations.

Top-down reformers demonize teachers, shut down ‘failing’ schools, and attempt to implement reforms without the input or buy-in of teachers, parents, and the community. This is why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty are no longer serving in Washington, D.C. It’s why Alan Bersin, who publicly fired school administrators and whose tenure saw the highest turnover of teachers and principals in San Diego history, was eventually removed in San Diego. And it’s why Mayor Bloomberg fights so hard to retain total authority over all education decision-making in New York City. Without support from the rank-and-file, school reform is impossible.

American public education is inherently democratic and decentralized, and no amount of dictatorial reform efforts will change that. It’s also about more than simply teaching kids how to take tests in reading and math. We cannot constantly compare American schools to those in other nations – American culture is different from Asian culture or Northern European culture. The accountability movement has shifted the focus away from American ingenuity and creativity in favor of strict testing regimes in an attempt to compete with Japan and Finland. This is the wrong approach. As our nation grows in wealth and technology, American public education should be a reflection of these changes. American schools may have been founded along industrial lines, but accountability efforts only entrench this attitude. If anything, we should be looking for ways to make education more creative and diverse, and to make American students more well-rounded and independent. The current reforms achieve just the opposite.

Let us know what you think?

Alexis Rice|February 28th, 2011|Categories: Comparative Education, Conferences and Events, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Programs, Mayoral Control, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Teachers|

Rethinking collective bargaining to focus on student achievement

Anne L. Bryant, the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) Executive Director, is part of National Journal’s expert blog on education, and posted a response to this week’s question on labor-management collaboration following attending the Conference on Labor-Management Collaboration.  NSBA was a partner in the conference and Bryant served as a panelist.

Bryant noted, “The collective bargaining process must be focused on promoting our most important educational priority — increasing student achievement.”

Regarding the conference, Bryant said, “we were exposed to 12 school districts with various styles of innovation. All these districts had ‘collaboration’ as their strategy and outcome. Two great examples that should be applauded are Hillsborough County’s (Fla.) and Montgomery County’s (Md.) efforts to advance the effectiveness of their education professionals. Going forward, we need to find ways to replicate throughout the country these successful teacher compensation, incentive, and development models, while taking into account the local circumstances of every community.”

Check out Bryant’s entire National Journal posting.

Alexis Rice|February 25th, 2011|Categories: Conferences and Events, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Student Achievement, Teachers|
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