Articles in the Multimedia and Webinars category

NSBA announces upcoming school law webinars

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys (COSA) offers online learning experiences for attorneys who represent schools. Here are the upcoming June 2013 webinars pertaining to U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issues.

June 11, 2013 1-2:15 p.m. EDT

Types of OCR Investigations and Their Outcomes

Leza Conliffe, NSBA Senior Staff Attorney and former practitioner in Northern Virginia as well as OCR, discusses the characteristics of different types of investigations OCR conducts. Leza will review the myriad contexts in which these investigations can occur, what these investigations look like in real time in terms of staff and district operations, and the ways OCR complaints are brought to closure.

June 18, 2013 1-2:15 p.m. EDT

Nuts & Bolts of an OCR Investigation: From Initial Notice to Closure Letter

On the final webinar on OCR investigations, NSBA Senior Staff Attorney Leza Conlife takes us through an OCR investigation step-by-step from the time the school district receives the complaint to when OCR closes the case. During this conversation, we will discuss preparing the initial response to the complaint; handling OCR document requests, site visits, and OCR interviews with staff and students; negotiating resolution agreements, and addressing various situations that develop along the way.

To register, go to If you have questions regarding your registration, please contact Lyndsay Andrews at 703-838-6738 or

Purchase archived webinars, including the very popular Affordable Care Act: Its Major Components and What They Mean for School Districts, and Investigating and Responding to Complaints of Bullying, at


Alexis Rice|May 22nd, 2013|Categories: School Law, Multimedia and Webinars|Tags: , , |

Videos: NSBA leaders address the 2013 Annual Conference

Check out the speeches from National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) leaders from the 2013 NSBA Annual Conference:

2013-2014 President David A. Pickler:

Our new President, Pickler, discussed the “New NSBA” to create “the most relevant and responsive organization possible as we advocate in Washington, D.C., in state capitols across this country, and in service of our state association members.” Pickler noted that the NSBA Board of Directors has focused significant energies over the past few years to reform, restructure, and create a stronger national organization for school boards.

2012-2013 President C. Ed Massey:

Adaptive leadership was the theme of Massey’s presidency this year, and in his final address as President of NSBA, he reflected on the changes this leadership has brought about. Massey discussed his travels during his presidency; he made it to 26 states and two countries – Finland and Estonia. In those places, he said, he met many people “with a passion for public education and the interest of children.” And while Finland may top the U.S. education system in some ways, “they can’t match us in creativity,” he said.

Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel:

Gentzel discussed the “New NSBA” and plans for NSBA to have a more assertive role in advocating for local school board governance, noting that state and federal officials are increasingly encroaching upon decisions best left to local school leaders. Gentzel unveiled NSBA’s new logo launching this summer.

Alexis Rice|May 15th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Legislative advocacy, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , , , , |

Video: NSBA incoming President highlights Monday’s Annual Conference schedule and the year to come

View National School Boards Association’s 2013 Annual Conference message from 2013-2014 President David A. Pickler for April 15, 2013 highlighting today’s conference schedule and the upcoming year.

Alexis Rice|April 15th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, Multimedia and Webinars, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , |

Video: NSBA President highlights Sunday’s Annual Conference schedule

Watch National School Boards Association’s 2013 Annual Conference message from President C. Ed Massey for April 14, 2013 highlighting today conference schedule.

UPDATE: Due to illness, National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mielwocki is unable to join us in San Diego. We will have a new session in place of her workshop on Sunday. Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, will speak on “Digital Experiences and Expectations of Tomorrow’s Teachers” at 1:30 p.m. in Ballroom 20A.

Alexis Rice|April 13th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , |

NSBA touts benefits of educational technologies on Comcast show

Ann Flynn, Director of Educational Technology at the National School Boards Association, is currently appearing on a Comcast Newsmakers segment on HLN across the country for Comcast subscribers. Flynn discusses ways school districts can use educational technology to improve student learning. Watch the segment:


Joetta Sack-Min|January 22nd, 2013|Categories: Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, Data Driven Decision Making, Board governance, Assessment, 21st Century Skills, Social Networking, Technology Leadership Network, Online learning|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.

Listen to internet radio with EduTalk on Blog Talk Radio
Alexis Rice|January 13th, 2012|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, Leadership, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Technology Leadership Network, NSBA Annual Conference 2012|Tags: , , , |

Webinar explains value of local control

Whether you’re talking about raising student achievement, spending local tax dollars wisely, or ensuring that children are educated with a nod to community values, the importance of local school control is all too clear.

But it wouldn’t hurt school board members to speak out more forcefully about this reality.

Those were some of the messages delivered during NSBA’s recent National Affiliate webinar, “We are here to stay! … A discussion about school boards and the importance of local control.”

One of the big advantages of local control—through the local school board—is that it ensures that decisions about educating children are made as close to the community as possible, said co-presenter Anne Byrne, who serves as president of the Nanuet Union Free School District and is a member of NSBA’s Board of Directors.

Local control ensures that the community has a say in how local tax dollars are spent, how much emphasis is put on 21st century skills versus music and drama, and whether graduation requirements will go beyond state minimum requirements, she added.

Local decision-making also means more accountability. Unlike state and federal policymakers who legislate mandates from afar, Byrne said, local school board members “are very accessible … you’re questioned at school events, on the ball field, in your houses of worship, and definitely in the supermarket … Everyone knows your telephone number, and they know where you live. You can’t get more accessible than that.”

It’s also important to remember that local school boards are unique in that their mission is solely devoted to student learning, Byrne added. State legislators, municipal mayors, federal officials, and charter school entrepreneurs can seek a greater stake in education decision-making, but school boards “are unique because education is not just a line item in the budget. It is the only item. We are unique in that we are single-minded and single-focused . . . we are the voice of public education.”

That voice is particularly important when it comes to raising student academic achievement, she said. Using data for decision-making, setting high academic goals and standards, and holding educators accountable are among the many ways that school boards can prove a powerful force in improving a school district’s success in teaching children.

Evidence of that is found in the Iowa Association of School Boards’ Lighthouse Study, which “shows very clearly that not only do school boards matter, but they are integral to student achievement,” Byrne said. “School boards do make a difference.”

For all of that, criticism of local school boards continue, and over the years, state and federal mandates increasingly have eroded the authority of local officials to make decisions on behalf of their schools. To slow that trend, Byrne said, school board members must become more advocacy-minded.

“Advocacy is one of the most powerful tools we have as school board members because we are elected officials—elected by the same people who elected all of our other public officials,” she said. “And we should use that power.”

The problem, of course, is that school boards don’t speak out enough, she said. But there is “strength in numbers,” so local school boards must reach out to their state school boards associations and get more involved. “You must get involved. You must advocate. You must be on the front lines. That is the only way to stop the erosion of local control.”

A school board’s communications effort also must reach down into the local community, suggested webinar co-presenter Steve Lamb, a leadership services specialist with the Oregon School Boards Association. It’s important, he said, that school boards are very clear about what they’re trying to achieve—and about their progress toward that achievement.

School boards also must speak out to their communities about the importance of protecting local control, Byrne added. School boards must “get the message out to the public that it is important to keep things local.” School boards “will be a thing of the past if we don’t get our message out.”

That’s a daunting task, but Byrne said help is available.

“Your state association is the best place to start,” she said. “They are well-versed in just about any topic.” The NSBA annual conference, along with research available at NSBA’s Center for Public Education, also are places to turn for good information.

But use that information, she said. Get out there and tell the world what it needs to hear. “We all know that communications is key to ensuring that the importance of local control is understood by all parties: the local community, state stakeholders, elected federal officials. Communicate, communicate, communicate, and communicate some more.”

An archive of this webinar and related resources are available at:

Del Stover|June 2nd, 2011|Categories: Governance, School Boards, Educational Legislation, Multimedia and Webinars|

Lessons on legal immunity for school officials

Teachers, administrators, and other school staff are considered public employees, which means they have certain protections under federal and state laws. But those immunities are complex and apply only in certain situations, and the laws are always evolving.

A webinar sponsored by NSBA’s National Affiliate program and legal department gave school board members and others a quick lesson in the basic legal concept of immunity and the laws that offer protections to school officials. The webinar, “Teacher and Administrator Immunity,” will be archived at for later viewing.

Attorney Derek Teeter of Husch Blackwell LLP  in Kansas City explained that while some laws date back hundreds of years, the most current laws came about because of concerns that school officials needed autonomy to discipline and perform other basic functions of their jobs without fear of retribution.

“Public school teachers and administrators get sued all the time — some would say at an increasing rate,” Teeter said.

The most common lawsuits his firm sees are negligent supervision, constitutional rights, and statutory rights, such as services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A typical lawsuit, he added, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend and distract from a school official’s job and personal life. A concern about lawsuits can drive some employees away from the field.

A wide range of school employees, including nearly all teachers and administrators, have “qualified immunity” created by federal and state laws or court decisions that apply in particular circumstances.

In general, these laws are only for public duties and the official capacity of their jobs. The laws require employees to exercise some sort of reasonable judgment—”You can’t know what you’re doing is wrong and still have protection,” Teeter noted.

A relatively new law, the Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Protection Act, was included in the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002. It was designed to give school employees additional tools to do their jobs without retribution. Teeter said he was hopeful the law will be invoked in more court cases, which would benefit school districts. While the law offers more protection that state immunity laws, it still does not provide immunity for gross negligence or recklessness, he added.

Teeter’s firm represented a school district that was sued in a case where a special education student, who had been expelled for violent behavior at a charter school, enrolled in a public high school in Kansas City and attempted to slit another student’s throat in the cafeteria. In Dydell v. Taylor, student Craig Dydell sued the Kansas City superintendent for $1 million for negligence, saying that school leaders should have been warned of the attacker’s violent past. The trial court found the superintendent was eligible for immunity and rejected Dydell’s arguments that the Coverdell Teacher Protection Act was unconstitutional. The state’s high court upheld that verdict. (Legal Clips covered this ruling on Feb. 8, 2011. Read more here.)

The decision was particularly important for defining the scope of the requirements of that law, Teeter said.

To provide more information about school law issues, The Council of School Attorneys (COSA) will host a three-part series of webinars designed by its labor committee to assist school board attorneys facing collective bargaining in difficult economic times:

  • Bargaining with no Money — June 14
  • Bargaining in the Midst of Changes to State Law — July 12
  • Tying Teacher Evaluations to Student Achievement — August 9

The webinars will be held at 1 to 2:30 p.m. EDT.  Cost is $175 for all three webinars for COSA members and $275 for non-members. For more information or to register, please go here.

Joetta Sack-Min|May 17th, 2011|Categories: School Law, Multimedia and Webinars, School Board News|

Showcasing edtech innovation

NSBA is showcasing the Newport News Public Schools in Virginia as one of our Technology Leadership Network site visits this April. They are truly using technology to transform “business as usual”…take a peek at their video!

To register, visit:

Alexis Rice|March 21st, 2011|Categories: Teachers, Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Webinar shows how to use technology to improve reading skills

While it’s widely acknowledged that technology has the power to transform education, some districts wonder: in what ways? A recent webinar sponsored by NSBA’s National Affiliate and Technology Leadership Network offered some specifics and hopefully inspiration to other educators wondering how they can dramatically improve student achievement without dramatic financial investments.

Literacy and reading comprehension continues to be one of the fundamental challenges schools face. Milton Chen, a senior fellow and executive director emeritus of the George Lucas Foundation, said student reading levels have basically remained flat since 1992–and demographic shifts will only exacerbate the problem.

Chen pointed to a January report from the Foundation for Child Development, which called the need to improve English Language Learner instruction critical. Though demographic projections estimate the ELL student population will balloon to 40 percent by 2030, only 6 percent are currently reaching reading proficiency levels by fourth-grade.

In many ways, this was the same scenario California’s Escondido Union School District found itself in. Located in the state’s southern interior valley, the K-8 district serves some 18,000 students–half of whom are second language learners. And that diversity certainly led to huge disparities in reading levels across the district.

“When you look at the challenges our kids face, we have kids from poverty and very limited English spoken at home, we couldn’t keep throwing text-based material at them,” said Kathy Shirley, the district’s technology and media service director. “It’s really important we harness the power of multimedia and these devices do it better than others.”

Those devices happen to be iPods, which Escondido first began experimenting with in 2006-2007, providing a handful of reading specialists with the handheld tool to help students improve their fluency.

“Why did we focus on fluency? Well, we know that is that gateway skill to reading comprehension,” Shirley explained. “If you are using all your working memory to just get through words you will not comprehend what you’re reading.”

Loaded with apps like an interactive dictionary and a dictation program that allows students to practice enunciation, the iPod devices proved so powerful major academic gains were seen in just the first year, prompting district officials to expand the iRead program, as it’s known, each year. Currently, 3,000 iPod devices are spread throughout 160 classrooms, with 70 of them being 1-to-1 iPod classrooms, and six of them operating on 1-to-1 i-Pad initiatives.

“We used to get asked, why do you do this, aren’t these just toys, do kids just play games,” Shirley said.

But as several recent district assessments have shown, these devices are clear game-changers for struggling readers and ELL students.

In one 1-to-1 iPod classroom, the students made almost two years worth of academic gains in reading as compared to the control group of similarly at-risk students. But iPods can also be a benefit to talented and gifted students. Kids in one of the district’s highest performing fifth-grade class still gain about a year’s worth of growth between the fall and spring.

“My message is it’s not the stuff, it’s not the technology, it’s what you do with it,” Shirley said. “[And what you can do is] provide differentiated content, increase engagement, excitement, the projects, all those things … the possibilities are limitless, it seems.”

If you missed the webinar, it is being archived and will available for download at or

Naomi Dillon|March 17th, 2011|Categories: Curriculum, Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, School Board News|Tags: |
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