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Articles in the Teachers category

Common Core tests and school board success stories in the March issue of ASBJ

The Common Core State Standards are coming, and they will have a huge impact on how teachers are expected to teach, students are taught to think, and how both students and teachers are evaluated. In this month’s issue of American School Board Journal, online now, Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy looks at how schools around the country will now be facing not only common standards but also common tests.

Also in March:

A Michigan superintendent and two board members describe how they used test scores and other data to refocus and turn their district around.

In our continuing series of school board success stories, we feature an Arizona school board and superintendent team using a new approach to boost reading and math scores.

Also, make sure to vote on this month’s Adviser poll to see where your opinion on a sticky situation stacks up.

Kathleen Vail|March 5th, 2013|Categories: American School Board Journal, Assessment, National Standards, School Boards, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , |

NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network announces 2013 class of “20 to Watch”

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its “20 to Watch” honors for 2012-2013. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

“The ’20 to Watch’ honorees offer school board members and other leaders real-world stories that help them evaluate the intersection of policy and practice when it comes to today’s emerging technologies,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology. “These early adopters are naturally curious about technology’s potential to help transform learning and exhibit traits that inspire and motivate their colleagues to join them on the journey. Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come.”

NSBA established the “20 to Watch” program in 2006. This year’s honorees will be recognized at 2013 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 11th in San Diego and also at TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference, also in San Diego, this April. TechSmith Corporation is sponsoring the “20 to Watch” celebration events and is providing software scholarships to the honorees.

The 2012-2013 honorees are (listed by state/territory):

Andrew Chlup, Director of Technology, Vail Unified School District, Ariz.
As the primary architect behind the Beyond Textbooks initiative, Andrew Chlup is among the national leaders transitioning from print to digital resources. New projects that can improve education include helping the community’s homeschooled students participate through blended learning, delving deep into the district’s Big Data, and finding other “cool stuff,” according to his superintendent.

Keith Bockwoldt, Director of Technology Services, Township High School District 214, Ill.
Collaborator and visionary are two terms used to describe Keith Bockwoldt’s leadership style, which has saved his district more than $120,000 annually by moving to the cloud. He also has successfully shown the district’s senior leaders how technology can transform learning, and he has established systems that support and inspire teachers to embrace iPads and “flipped” classes.

Ann Linson, Superintendent, East Noble School Corporation, Ind.
As an innovative technology leader, Superintendent Ann Linson has inspired her teachers to abandon textbooks, flip classes, and embrace the district’s 1:1 learning initiatives by providing professional development through building-level peer coaches. She is leading an online course pilot for current students and the homeschooled students in her community.

Theresa Shafer, Online Community Manager, New Tech Network, Ind.
From starting weekly international Twitter chats about project-based learning (#PBLChat) to using Pinterest boards for education, Theresa Shafer casts an ever-expanding net to willingly share what she knows about social media with colleagues and community members. Helping students think about the kind of digital footprint they are creating and how it might impact the future they desire has been a special focus.

Kelly Williams, Teacher, USD 115 Nemaha Central Schools, Nemaha Valley High School, Kan.
Kelly Williams’ blog has been an invaluable resource that has helped teachers understand that changing instruction from teacher-centered to student-centered is a complicated, but worthwhile, process. In his blog, he has discussed strategies to use technology, from iPads and social media to cloud-based tools and flipped classes.

Ed Bonhaus, Technology Integration Specialist, Kenton County School District, Ky.
Ed Bonhaus provided critical firsthand knowledge about technology in Kentucky’s Race to the Top grant process. But he didn’t stop there—he is now providing online professional development and working on the first flipped classroom for the Kentucky iTunes campus. And inspired by what he saw during NSBA’s site visit to the Clark County (Nev.) School District in 2012, he is pursuing a vision to transform a low performing elementary school with minimal technology into a 21st century school.

Dr. Robert Dillon, Principal, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, Mo.
Robert Dillon, “story-teller-in-chief,” provides a constant flow of information to parents and community members about the positive work of students in his school’s 7-year-old 1:1 program, where they engage and document authentic learning by bringing technology to the field, and using social media and digital story telling as teaching tools. His work with teachers to create electronic portfolios also provides a platform for deep reflection by students.

Jhone M. Ebert, Chief Technology Officer, Clark County School District, Nev.
Jhone Ebert embodies the essential skill set for a Chief Technology Officer, as she recognizes her primary role is to evaluate and implement technology solutions that further advance student achievement. In Clark County, the nation’s 5th largest school district, that includes supporting a robust infrastructure and a virtual school, introducing a more effective web presence, and leading the move toward competency-based education and blended learning.

New Jersey:
Jeanine Gottko, Master Technology Teacher, Westfield Public Schools, N.J.
The 21st century learning environments thrive at Westfield’s elementary schools, as Jeanine Gottko supports teachers in and out of their classes, in professional development sessions, and through her online resource blog as part of a $1.2 million technology initiative. By ensuring technology was effectively incorporated into the district’s other grant on literacy, her work serves as a model for others.

Kenneth Zushma, Technology, Design and Pre-Engineering Teacher, Livingston Public Schools, Heritage Middle School, N.J.
Although gender equity remains a concern for most STEM initiatives, Kenneth Zushma’s female engineering club, FemGineers, is inspiring a new generation of middle school girls to get involved and is boosting their confidence and achievement. The club participates in competitions like the National Engineers Week Future City Design Challenge that uses SimCity software, analysis and scale models to create a solution for an engineering problem.

New York:
Jenny M. Buccos, Executive Director & Founder,, N.Y.

Since 2006, founder Jenny Buccos has provided free resources through technology that encourage students to become aware of the world beyond their own communities by using video, photography, vocabulary, and lesson plans. After directing and producing more than 400 of these short films, her international work has been described as a “positive voice in a sea of global misunderstanding,” and is used across the United States and in more than 40 countries.

Jayne Clare, Special Education Teacher, Southampton Union Free School District, Southampton Intermediate School, N.Y.
Jayne Clare’s room was once described as “magical” by a colleague who observed students with multiple learning problems effortlessly navigating technology she had tailored to their needs. With time, that expertise blossomed into support for district technology initiatives, including iPad integration for grades 6-8, and the creation of her influential Teachers With Apps site.

North Carolina:
Jayme Linton, Director of Teacher Education, Lenoir-Rhyne University, N.C.

Building on years of practical experience in K-12 settings, Jayme Linton is training a new generation of teachers to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms and assume leadership roles with their peers. Her influence extends beyond her students as she shares and learns from others in her Personal Learning Network and works with in-service teachers in local schools and districts.

Jeremy Shorr, Educational Technologist, Mentor Public Schools, Ohio
Jeremy Shorr knows how to match the latest and most effective technology tools to the research-based Common Core resources and strategies to meet students’ and teachers’ instructional needs. Currently, Jeremy is working to deploy a district-wide 1:1 initiative as well as a building-wide blended learning environment at the middle school level.

Dr. L. Robert Furman, Principal, South Park School District, South Park Elementary Center, Pa.
World Future Society member, author, and principal L. Robert Furman believes technology should be embraced as a standard educational practice. He leads by example, presenting the latest technological tools to inspire his teachers, engage his parents, and enrich learning each day for his students. He shares his ideas, both virtually and in person, with audiences across the country.

Thomas Stauffer, Director of Technology Services, Dallastown Area School District, Pa.
Students can have an entirely online educational experience, thanks to Thomas Stauffer’s work to develop the district’s virtual academy, or they can elect various blended courses that may better meet their needs. He has been instrumental in developing technology applications for administrators to use in their walk-through observations as the state moves towards a new teacher evaluation system.

South Carolina:
Dr. Christopher Craft, Teacher, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, CrossRoads Middle School, S.C.
In Christopher Craft’s innovative middle school STEM program, students work on cutting-edge technologies such as building functioning hydrogen fuel cell model cars, app development for smart phones, and video game creation. His after-school program encourages at-risk students to explore robotics and reflects his belief that when children are provided with the appropriate technological tools, their potential is unlimited.

Stephanie Green, Assistant Director Educational Technology/Director Library Services, Klein Independent School District, Texas

Stephanie Green has been instrumental to the district’s 1:1 tablet PC program serving more than 12,000 students and 700 teachers to make digital learning the norm. Her role takes on even greater significance as she shares that experience with state legislators through the Texas Capitol School House project. She has also led the transformation of the district’s libraries into 21st century learning and support centers.

Todd Nesloney, Fifth Grade Teacher, Waller Independent School District, Fields Store Elementary, Texas
While lots of teachers are “flipping” their classes, few have been as successful as Todd Nesloney’s effort. He earned a $100,000 grant that provided fifth grade students on his campus (where 66 percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch) and others in the district with an iPhone 4, pre-loaded Verizon data plan and internet access at home. A founding partner in the training company, The 3 Tech Ninjas, Todd is committed to sharing his experience with other educators.

London Jenks, Science Teacher/Director of Technology, Hot Springs County School District 1, Thermopolis High School, Wyo.

Project-based learning, a paperless classroom and the effective integration of iPads into instruction are typical features of London Jenks’ science classes. But they also are among the ideas he shares with district colleagues in his role as Director of Technology, where he works with other educators to increase student engagement and academic rigor through the use of technology.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.


Joetta Sack-Min|March 4th, 2013|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Educational Technology, Social Networking, Teachers, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

School boards prepare for layoffs, program cuts as federal deadline looms

School boards across the country will be forced to lay off thousands of teachers and teacher aides in coming weeks as they create their budgets for the 2013-14 academic year because of the federal budget cuts scheduled to take place March 1.

The sequester, which will require across the board budget cuts for all federal programs on March 1, will eliminate about 5 percent of funding for K-12 programs and Head Start. However, representatives from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) pointed out in a press conference call this week that those cuts disproportionately affect school districts that are educating large populations of disadvantaged students.

Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, noted that many school districts are beginning to plan next year’s budgets, and in an informal survey, three-quarters said they would be issuing layoff notices this spring.

For some school districts, the process of issuing pink slips has already started.

Minnie Forte-Brown, a school board member in Durham, N.C., and chair of NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education, said her school district planned to eliminate 34 teacher and staff positions. Title I cuts would be about $800,000 of about $1.7 million in cuts that the 33,000 student school would endure for the next 10 years, special education would amount to another $600,000 each year.

The school board has already stopped filling vacant positions and has cut all travel and professional development.

“We are implementing extreme measures,” said Forte-Brown. “This is not the promise we made to our families when we said we were going to educate excellently.”

In rural Alabama, Steve Foster, vice president of the Lowndes County Board of Education, said his school district has already seen significant state cuts in recent years, and a further reduction from the federal government would diminish books and classroom supplies, teacher retention and professional development programs, and cuts to the library, where many parents and students who do not have home computers or internet access go to work on school assignments.

”Our school system has made great strides in the last 10 to 12 years. These cuts are going to affect the programs that help us make progress,” said Foster, who is also President of the Alabama Association of School Boards.

President Obama has frequently used education and early childhood examples in recent speeches about the impact of sequestration on the country. The White House released state-by-state estimates that include how much K-12 funding each state stands to lose, the number of teacher and staff jobs, the number of children that will lose access to Head Start, and other details. (The Washington Post published this graphic detailing the cuts.)

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program on February 24 to warn of the impact of the looming cuts to K-12 programs.

More than 700 school boards have passed resolutions urging Congress to stop the sequester. Go to NSBA’s website,, for sample letters, resolutions, and other activities for school boards.


Joetta Sack-Min|February 26th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation, School Boards, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , , |

Education Talk Radio features NSBA on edtech innovations

Ann Flynn, Director of Education Technology at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Mark Ray, Manager of Instructional Technology and Library Services for Washington’s Vancouver Public Schools, were guests on Education Talk Radio. They discussed the impact of new and innovative education technology on K-12 education.

Listen to internet radio with EduTalk on Blog Talk Radio

Vancouver Public Schools, which will host one of NSBA’s 2013 Technology Leadership Network Education Technology Site Visits, discussed the upcoming event on this show. These site visits demonstrate best practices and newest tools to help improve student learning through technology are one of the best ways to see firsthand the best ways to use technology in classrooms. Education Technology Site Visits are also scheduled for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Township High School District #214 in Illinois, and East Penn School District in Pennsylvania this spring.

The show also discussed NSBA’s first Technology Innovation Showcase, which will help school board members and school districts realize the potential of new and innovative educational technology products for their schools.


Alexis Rice|February 20th, 2013|Categories: Educational Technology, STEM Education, Teachers, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , |

NSBA gives ideas for school boards to honor Digital Learning Day

What is your school district doing to celebrate Digital Learning Day on February 6?

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a core partner in the event, which is designed to help showcase learning through technology, including successful instructional practices and effective use of technology in classrooms across the country.

“Digital Learning Day is an excellent opportunity for educators to organize student demonstrations for school board members and other community leaders so they can see how technology is used to support learning,” said NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology Ann Flynn. “Many of today’s 21st century classrooms are filled with digital tools that can engage and excite students, but may seem foreign to graduates of another era,” she added.

Even though the event is geared toward teachers and classroom instruction, there are several ways school board members can take advantage of the time to highlight their schools’ programs, Flynn said.

For instance, consider an open house invitation for the community and government leaders to see how digital tools are transforming education in classrooms firsthand. Or, have teachers and students give demonstrations of their projects at a school board meeting. Last year, several school boards across the country marked the day by hosting student presentations at their board meetings.

A school board also could issue its own proclamation in celebration of Digital Learning Day, Flynn added, to call attention to the important role these resources play in preparing students for the future and educate the community to build support for the district’s future technology initiatives.

Digital Learning Day, now in its second year, is a project of the Digital Learning Policy Center, a division of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which promotes the effective applications of technology in schools.

Also be sure to check out Flynn’s recent appearance on Comcast Newsmakers, where she discusses the potential of educational technology and student learning.



Joetta Sack-Min|January 23rd, 2013|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Board governance, Educational Technology, Online learning, Teachers, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , , |

Video: NSBA discusses school safety on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”

Francisco M. Negrón Jr., General Counsel of the National School Boards Association, was featured on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Dec. 19 discussing school safety and  how school boards across the U.S. develop and implement emergency plans.

Alexis Rice|December 19th, 2012|Categories: NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, School Law, School Security, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , , |

NSBA speaks out on school safety

Francisco M. Negrón Jr., General Counsel of the National School Boards Association, was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” as schools re-examine safety and security following the Newtown, Conn. school shooting. Negrón noted that “schools are going to try to understand whether or not they need to change their policies accordingly.”

Negrón is also scheduled to be on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Wednesday morning, Dec. 19 from 8:45-9:15 am EST discussing school safety. You can watch it live online or on C-SPAN and C-SPAN Radio. It will also recorded and will be available in the C-SPAN archive. If you watch the “Washington Journal” live, we encourage you to call-in, tweet, or email Negrón a question.

Call-In Numbers:
Democrats:  202-585-3880
Republicans: 202-585-3881
Independents: 202-585-3882
Outside U.S.:  202-585-3883



Alexis Rice|December 18th, 2012|Categories: School Law, School Security, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

NSBA President: Fiscal cliff would have a major impact on public education

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) President C. Ed Massey, a member of Kentucky’s Boone County Schools Board of Education, wrote a Nov. 28 article for Politico urging members of Congress to avoid the devastating impacts the scheduled federal budget cuts will have on public schools in his district and across the country. Politico is a leading Capitol Hill newspaper.

“As a local school board member, I see firsthand the impact of the planned reductions in federal funding for education,” Massey wrote. “The end result for many of our nation’s public schools would be larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, four-day school weeks, fewer extracurricular activities, less access to intervention programs and teacher/staff layoffs.”

The impact of sequestration, which is the automatic budget cuts scheduled to occur in all federal programs at the beginning of January under the deficit reduction act, would hit public education particularly hard given that schools already have seen years of reductions. NSBA’s “Stop Sequestration” website has numerous actions for local school board members to contact their members of Congress.

Massey cited several examples of districts that were planning to cut teacher jobs, reading and support programs for struggling students, and other programs critical for students’ academic success.

“Closing the doors of opportunity for our students is not an option for economic recovery and deficit reduction,” Massey continued. “I urge members of Congress to continue bipartisan negotiations that will produce a plan that respects the value of education, and I encourage them to protect the investments in the future of our county — our students and schools.

Share your thoughts through comments on Politico about how these federal cuts to education would affect your community.


Joetta Sack-Min|November 28th, 2012|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Teachers|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.



Report: High-level high school courses and school counseling boost college graduations

Taking high-level math in high school as well as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses can have a dramatic impact on whether a student finishes college, according to a report released today from the National School Boards Association’s  Center for Public Education.

The “persistence rate” for students from above average socioeconomic backgrounds (SES) is 10 percent higher in four-year institutions if they had taken Pre-calculus or Calculus or math above Algebra II in high school. For low SES students, the effect is even greater: Those students who took higher level math are 22 percent more likely to persist in college. And the impact for both groups is even greater at two-year colleges.

In addition to AP, IB, and math classes, academic advising in college has a significant impact on a student’s propensity to stay in college, the report said.

“But we also believe that academic advising can be a great benefit when it starts earlier,” the report said. “Middle and high schools need enough counselors to monitor student progress so they can make sure all students are taking rigorous courses and have the support they need to be successful in them. Counselors also fill an important role in helping students plan for their futures after high school, including help choosing a post-secondary institution that best matches their goals, and navigating the college application and financial aid processes.”

Researchers project that by 2018, America will have produced 3 million fewer college graduates than the labor market demands. But that could be changed by better college outcomes, says Jim Hull, a senior policy analyst at the Center.

“If 90 percent of current freshmen continue and earn a credential, we would have an additional 3.8 million graduates by 2020, enough to meet the labor market’s needs,” Hull said. “This study points to clear-cut ways to help more students continue their work toward a degree, and that process begins in high school.”

Hull coauthored the report with lead researcher Kasey Klepfer, an Archer Graduate Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

The study identifies three main factors that affect postsecondary students’ chances of staying on track to graduation, particularly for students who enter high school behind most of their peers and who come from families with low socioeconomic status:

  • Academic advising:  For both four-year and two-year students, talking to an academic advisor in college either “sometimes” or “often” significantly improved their chances to persist. Students in two-year institutions increased their chances of staying on track by as much as 53 percent just by meeting frequently with their academic advisor.
  • High-level mathematics: Consistent with previous studies, the Center’s researchers found the highest level of math in high school can be one of the largest predictors of college success. The analysis found that more affluent students who began high school with above average achievement had a 10 percent better chance of staying at a four-year institution if they had taken Pre-calculus or Calculus instead of completing math up to Algebra II, while students from low-income families and lesser academic achievements were 22 percent more likely to persist if they had taken high-level math classes. The impact is greatest for students in two-year institutions:  The persistence rates of students who took Pre-Calculus or Calculus in high school increased by 18 percent for the higher wealth, higher performing group and 27 percent for the lower wealth, lower performing students than had they only completed up to Algebra II.
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses:  Taking an AP/IB course had a dramatic effect on students’ chance of persisting even when students fail the end-of-course test. Low achieving and high poverty students who took an AP/IB course were 18 percent more likely to persist in four-year colleges and 30 percent more likely to persist in two-year institutions. The more courses a student took, the higher their persistence rates.
  • Other high school factors also impacted students’ persistence rates in college, including students’ grade point average and the amount of time spent on homework in high school.

The good news is that this study shows actions that school leaders can take to improve their graduates’ chances for success in college,” said Patte Barth, the Center’s director. “Rigorous high school curriculum is important for all students’ future success. And the value of academic advising in college tells us that high schools can get a jump on it by helping their students with their after high school plans.”

Barth added, “Opening these opportunities can have the most impact for students who have traditionally been the least likely to succeed in college — those from low-income families and those who began high school as low achievers.”

The report can be downloaded at the Center’s website:

Also check out the upcoming November issue of the  American School Board Journal where this issued will be featured.

Lawrence Hardy|October 11th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Center for Public Education, Dropout Prevention, High Schools, Mathematics Education, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |
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