Articles in the Teachers category

Share how your school district earns trust

School districts that earn the trust of their key stakeholder groups are more likely to win bond referendums, successfully implement their plans, and enjoy a better relationship with their communities than those districts where trust is lacking.

But what creates trust? Is it science? Can a process be found that works every time? Or must you tailor the process to fit your district’s size and location, the socioeconomic status of your constituents, and other factors?

Uncovering which elements of trust are shared, which are unique, and which can build successful school district/stakeholder group relationships is the purpose of The Trust Project. The study is a cooperative venture of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and Patron Insight, Inc.

You can contribute to the accuracy of this important study by taking The Trust Project’s 10-minute, online survey on trust. All responses are confidential. (Please be aware that the survey is set up to limit responses to one per computer address, so if you “exit the survey” before you have completed it, you will not be able to return later.)

A copy of the survey’s results will be sent directly to anyone who provides optional contact information. Survey results will be made available to the public at a later date.

The survey will be open through the end of August.

Margaret Suslick|July 12th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Announcements, School Climate|Tags: , |

Maryland school boards call to strengthen educator evaluations

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), representing all boards of education across the state, joined with other education organizations in pledging to further strengthen education evaluations.

MABE, the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE), Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA), Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland (PSSAM), Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP), Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP), and the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) signed the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the state board meeting on June 27 in Baltimore.

Those groups pledged to coordinate resources and strategies in the development of rigorous and measurable Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). SLOs are measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students over a set period of time. These SLOs, developed jointly by teachers and principals, are a key factor in Maryland’s new teacher-principal evaluation system. As stated by the MOU, the parties shall work towards establishing a network for collaborating, monitoring, and analyzing the progress of the local school systems in the development of SLOs.

MABE President Kathryn B. Groth stated, “This agreement commits all parties to collaborate in improving student academic success by measuring student outcomes and holding educators accountable based on student learning objectives (SLOs). We are pleased because this agreement is consistent with our longstanding support for local flexibility in developing rigorous evaluation systems that incorporate student growth in learning as a significant component of the overall evaluation system.”

“The State will continue to support educators in partnership with all school systems as they develop a fair and equitable process for gauging learning and improving instruction. Every child deserves a great education,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.

Under the MOU, the partners agree to:
• focus on continuing professional development for teachers in developing rigorous SLOs;
• identify and development a diverse group of leaders to develop professional development on the SLO process;
• establish a network for collaboration on SLO development;
• initiate a study of the SLO process to be completed by August 2016.
Maryland piloted evaluation systems in seven districts during the 2011-12 school year, and evaluation systems were field tested in 22 districts during the 2012-13 school year. In 2013-14, all school systems implemented new Teacher-Principal Evaluation Systems. Those systems include both professional practice measures and student growth measures.

MSDE continues to seek flexibility from the federal government about using State assessment data for evaluations. Maryland is seeking an ESEA waiver from federal officials to hold teachers and principals harmless during the recently completed school year (2013-14) with the final administration of the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), while teaching new standards and field testing new online state assessments. MSDE also requested flexibility for a fair and thoughtful three-year roll out of the new teachers and principal evaluations in coordination with the State’s new college and career-ready standards and assessments.

MSDE has proposed to the U.S. Department of Education that school year 2014-15 be used to establish a baseline for student achievement without using state assessment scores in personnel decision during the first two years of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) Assessments, which replace the MSA. Data from the second PARCC test administration in school year 2015-16 would not be available until the summer. New student achievement data could be used to measure growth and in making personnel decisions for the first time during the 2016-17 school year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|June 30th, 2014|Categories: Teachers, Board governance, Assessment, State School Boards Associations|

California School Boards Association speaks out on teacher tenure ruling

Today, a California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles judge issued a decision on Vergara v. California, ruling that state laws regarding teacher tenure and dismissal are unconstitutional as they infringe upon poor and minority students’ right to an equitable education. The lawsuit is expected to have national implications as its backers are examining teacher-tenure laws in other states.

California School Boards Association (CSBA) President Josephine Lucey issued a statement today on the Vergara decision:

Today’s Vergara v. California court decision is a call for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that all of California’s 6 million school children have an equal opportunity to a quality education.

We should not and cannot afford to wait for the appellate courts to address these critical issues. Regardless of the legal outcome, the education community should immediately begin working with the Governor and the California Legislature to resolve these important issues of inequality in education.

CSBA has worked for years on these issues and remains committed to true reform by working with all of our education partners to meet the needs of our children.

Alexis Rice|June 10th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, School Reform|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA launches international student travel policy guide for schools

Bon Voyage! A Legal and Policy Making Guide for School Boards on International Student Travel

Bon Voyage! A Legal and Policy Making Guide for School Boards on International Student Travel

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has released a new policy guide on international student travel to help school boards anticipate and interpret important legal considerations and planning issues before students reach the departure gate.

This innovative guide, “BON VOYAGE! A Legal and Policy Making Guide for School Boards on International Student Travel,” provides vital information explaining the three types of international student travel, which include school sponsored and school district managed, school sponsored and tour-company managed, and non-school sponsored/private trips, providing guidance on recommended district-led policies for each. In addition, the report promotes improved understanding of outside tour companies, insurance policies, liability issues, and academic credit programs.

“Paving the way to successful international travel requires informed readiness,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “This guide will help school boards understand the important questions they should be asking to ensure that districts and students conduct the planning steps essential to optimize overall return on investment and enhance students’ travel experience.”

Hundreds of thousands of students from U.S. public schools learn about the various countries and cultures of the world by traveling abroad each year in structured tour groups. These trips are often organized by teachers or the more than 250 tour companies that offer student packages.

The guide advises that every school board have a policy on international student travel. The document, which is laid out in a question-and-answer format, shows school board members the important details to consider, such as the educational value of a trip and class credits, the types of insurance to purchase, how to make clear to participants whether a trip is either school sponsored or non-school sponsored, and policies and procedures for school-sponsored trips. It also advises school board members to consult a school attorney to review their policies.

Alexis Rice|May 14th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Student Engagement|Tags: , |

National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education shows disparities in K-12 education

Science classes with mostly high-achieving students are much more likely to use advanced technologies such as microscopes and graphic calculators than those with mostly low-achieving students, according to the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education.

The survey is the fifth major report in a series of studies that began in 1977 and are funded by the National Science Foundation. The research documents long-standing problems, such as inequities in instructional technology and teacher preparedness, as well as positive indicators, such as findings that mathematics is taught every day in elementary schools and that more than three-quarters of elementary mathematics teachers describe themselves as “very well prepared” to teach mathematics.

On the downside, only about one-fifth of elementary school classes teach science every day, and less than 40 percent of elementary science teachers feel that they are very well prepared to teach the subject.

The results come from a nationally representative survey of more than 1,500 schools and 7,752 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.

The 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education is “the only detailed, nationally representative snapshot of the K-12 science and mathematics education system, which comes at a critical time when the country is adopting new standards in these disciplines,” said Eric R. Banilower, the study’s principal investigator.

More than 40 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and literacy. In addition, 10 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to separate science standards developed by the National Science Teachers Association. Improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education has also been a major objective of the Obama administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The report’s data on the uneven distribution of instructional technology document part of a larger problem with ensuring that all students have access to equal educational opportunities. The report found that 39 percent of classes composed of mostly high-achieving students had graphing calculators, compared to 23 percent of classed that had average achievers or a mixture of students at various levels of achievement. Just 18 percent of the classes with mostly low achievers had graphic calculators.

A similar disparity was found in access to microscopes, with 82 percent of the classes with mostly high achievers having access, compared to 63 percent of classes with mostly average or mixed achievers, and 59 percent of classes with mostly low achievers.

Among the positive findings were that 81 percent of elementary school teachers considered themselves “very well prepared” to teach reading and language arts, and 77 percent said they were “very well prepared” to teach math. However, these levels fell to 47 percent for social studies and 39 percent for science.

Just 29 percent of elementary school teachers said they were “very well prepared” to teach life sciences. The rates of high preparedness were 26 percent for earth science, 17 percent for physical science and 4 percent for engineering.

Lawrence Hardy|May 7th, 2014|Categories: Curriculum, Teachers, Educational Research, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Professional Development|Tags: , , |

Call for proposals for NSBA’s 2015 Annual Conference

2015 NSBA Annual Conference

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is requesting proposals for breakout sessions to be conducted during our 75th Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 21-23. The conference will draw thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and guests representing nearly 1,400 school districts, and will feature distinguished speakers and hundreds of workshops, presentations, and other events that will help school board members develop leadership skills, boost student learning, and improve school districts’ operations.

If your school district or organization has an idea for a high-quality breakout session that focuses on a topic of critical interest to school board members for presentation at this conference, please complete a proposal online by the deadline of Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. EDT. Only proposals submitted through the online process  will be considered. Breakout sessions will be 30, 45, or 75 minutes in length and will be scheduled throughout the conference.

Proposals are being solicited for the following focus areas:

• Innovations in District Management
• Legal and Legislative Advocacy
• Professional and Personal Development
• School Board/Superintendent Partnerships
• Student Achievement and Accountability
• Technology + Learning Solutions

School board member blasts fed’s rescission of NCLB waiver for Washington state

In a strong and incisive letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Washington school board member David Iseminger has decried the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to rescind the state’s waiver of some of the more onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind, a move that will cause nearly all state schools to fail to reach the law’s student achievement benchmarks and require school districts to send “failure letters” to parents if they want to receive critical federal funds.

Last week, the department said it was rescinding the wavier because the state has not moved fast enough on its promise to use student test data to evaluate teachers and principals. The waivers allow states to escape from the law’s requirements that all schools educate 100 percent of their students to proficiency and math and language arts by this year–a provision widely criticized by educators and researchers as nearly impossible to meet.

In his letter, which was published on the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog, Iseminger characterized Duncan’s action as arbitrary and detrimental to schools and students.

“Your reason for revoking our waiver: we didn’t pass legislation you wanted,” wrote Iseminger, a board member for both the Lake Stevens School District and the Washington State School Directors’ Association. “More precisely, we passed legislation, but it didn’t have the wording (actually, one specific word) you wanted.”

Noting that Washington, D.C., is nearly 3,000 miles from his state, Iseminger offered to tell Duncan about “this other Washington” where “we have strong leadership in our board rooms, schools, and classrooms” and students who “are capable, confident, and work extremely hard.”

“In Lake Stevens — and in school districts across America — we lead by example,” Iseminger said. “We create confidence, capacity, knowledge, and opportunity for everyone in our community. There is a palpable and ubiquitous culture of excellence in Lake Stevens, where it’s common knowledge that each individual is supported, challenged, engaged, and empowered. Such things don’t appear overnight, they’re not accidental, and I have no intention of having our work undermined by distant labels and bracketed explanations.”

Among the schools that the education department would have the state call “failing” are “Schools of distinction one of them four years running,” Iseminger said, as well as Washington Achievement Awards schools and a Reward School. He said Lake Stevens has won a Magna Award from the National School Boards Association (NSBA)’s American School Board Journal and is a recognized Board of Distinction.

With NCLB reauthorization languishing six years in Congress, the law “has been subverted into a name-calling, label-applying bully pulpit,” Iseminger said.

“We tried to help,” Iseminger said. “With input and work from many education advocates, Congress was provided an extensive list of fixes that would make NCLB workable and forward-thinking, and keep us all accountable. I was there too — as a member of the (NSBA’s) Federal Relations Network (FRN), I made the trek to Washington D.C., multiple times to ask our members to reauthorize, year after year. While there, many of us from Washington also met with people from your Department of Education, in your building, trying to create relationships and press for a change in policy and tone: ‘Stop telling our students and educators they’re failing,’ I said.”

Iseminger works for Microsoft in its Business Intelligence Group, part of the Cloud + Enterprise Division. He said if the Education Department follows up the rescinding of its waiver by withholding Title I money and other key funds, disadvantaged students will suffer.

“If you pull our funding, you’ll be forsaking Washington’s most needy students — the very students for whom the original ESEA legislation was passed 50 years ago,” Iseminger wrote. “You’ll be abandoning those students, but we won’t. In Lake Stevens — and in every district across America – we’ll do whatever we must to ensure no child is left behind, waiver or not.”

Joetta Sack-Min|May 6th, 2014|Categories: Teachers, Educational Legislation, Federal Programs, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Educational Finance, School Reform, Board governance, Budgeting, Assessment, NSBA Recognition Programs, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |

National Teacher of the Year “stands up” for public schools

National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel presented NSBA’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” red wristband to Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year, at a gala honoring the nation’s top teachers this week.

NSBA’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” is a national public advocacy campaign that celebrates the good work in public education and believes that all children, regardless of their ZIP code, deserve a world-class education and a promising future. Celebrities including Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Sal Khan, and Montel Williams have joined the campaign.

Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year

NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel presented NSBA’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” red wristband to Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers. McComb, a high school English teacher from Baltimore, Md., created a mentor-based, college-preparatory program that helps students who are academically in the middle and in need receive the mental and academic supports they need to take rigorous college preparatory courses. McComb and all 2014 State Teachers of the Year were lauded by President Barack Obama at the White House on May 1.

Kathleen Vail, editor of American School Board Journal, served as a judged for the awards.

Joetta Sack-Min|May 1st, 2014|Categories: Teachers, Public Advocacy|Tags: , , |

NSBA develops guide for school boards on boosting student success through community partnerships

Cover of "Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success"

Cover of “Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success”

A new guide released today details how school board members can build partnerships to secure a high-quality education, from early learning to graduation, for students in their districts. “Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success,” demonstrates how school boards can work with other community partners to provide seamless services and engage community members to improve their schools.

Every student who leaves high school without a diploma costs the U.S. hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income over the student’s lifetime. Despite the recent gains in U.S. graduation rates, far too many young people, mainly students of color from educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, are leaving school without a high school diploma or are severely underprepared for college-level work.

“As advocates for equity and excellence in public education, school boards play a key role to build a student-centered environment that addresses the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students in their school district,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association (NSBA).

“School board members are local leaders who understand the needs of their students, teachers, and school staff, and this guide shows how to tap into community resources to further enhance and strengthen their community’s schools.”

NSBA led the effort to develop this guide with a group of school board members from NSBA’s National Black Caucus of School Board Members, National Caucus of American Indian/Alaska Native School Board Members, National Hispanic Caucus of School Board Members, and the Council of Urban Boards of Education.

The guide serves as a blueprint for school board members to build a better-coordinated system of supports for children and their families. By partnering with key stakeholders and local service providers, school boards can ensure that all children benefit from a “Personal Opportunity Plan” that guarantees access to out-of-school resources each child needs to succeed in school and in life.

One such example is the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative in Oregon, as featured in the guide. This school community partnership helps create a seamless learning environment. A cohesive collaboration between the school districts, the city, and county, it includes more than 70 schools within the Portland-Multnomah County Area. SUN partnered with various partners such as libraries, parks, local health clinics, churches, and businesses to provide in-school and wraparound support to students and their families. The collaboration is guided by an inter-governmental among between all three entities that outlines that processes in which they will work together in creating a shared vision and common goals to support the schools within the initiative.

NSBA partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education; American Federation of Teachers; Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning; Coalition for Community Schools; National Education Association; Opportunity Action; National Opportunity to Learn Campaign; and Rural School and Community Trust to release the guide.

Alexis Rice|April 22nd, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Student Achievement, Dropout Prevention, Student Engagement, Reports|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Courage is an essential quality for school leaders

How big is your brave, Angela Maiers wants to know.

Courage, according to the teacher, speaker, and social media evangelist, is not just an essential part of being a leader – it’s the most important quality and the one through which other qualities follow.

Maiers was part of a three-speaker hour-long opening General Session April 7 at NSBA’s annual conference in New Orleans, which included Erin Gruwell and Nikhil Goyal. The speakers then continued in separate sessions that went more in-depth.

Maier asked a group of kindergartners, “What does it mean to be brave?” They came up with this list:

1. Love yourself

2. Never give up

3. Be calm in yourself

4. Stand up for yourself

5. Believe in yourself

6. Be brave

“If you don’t follow that to-do list, you have no chance of asking anyone else to do any of those things,” she said. “You are the leader they wish to be. You are the change that needs to be.”

Maiers shows schools how social media and technology can bring out the genius in students and teachers and bring about social change. Some schools have put into place a “genius hour” where students can meeting physically and virtually to plan projects.

An entire district – with children from kindergarten to 12th grade – took on this project – Hutto, Texas. The district has 6,000 students. “All I said was give me a group of kids and we’ll figure it out,” Maiers said. “All we needed was school board that said, ‘I believe in you; we will be brave.’” From the project, 57 social enterprises were launched.

A large part of being a courageous leader is having a community of leaders to turn to. “I feel brave because I don’t do this work alone,” she said. “I have a network of educators and others who make me smarter every day. I have never felt so supported.”

Maiers announced that she was starting a Twitter chat for school board members, SBchat, so they could build a community, as well. The chat will run through her Choose 2 Matter website.

 

Kathleen Vail|April 10th, 2014|Categories: Governance, School Boards, Teachers, Student Engagement, Social Networking, NSBA Annual Conference 2014|Tags: , , , , , |
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