2016 Annual Conference

No Key of Life without Innervisions

Columbia University’s Christopher Emdin pointed to Stevie Wonder’s classic Songs in the Key of Life album to make a point about the foundational work that has to be done by school board members if they are to help transform education in their communities.

Before releasing Songs, Wonder created the album Innervisions. It was self-reflective, political, and innovative, and laid the foundation for the megahit to follow, said Emdin, an associate professor in the department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Columbia’s Teachers College.

Rather: Look abroad for educational models

Although public education in the U.S. used to be a model for the rest of the world, Americans now must look abroad for some of the best ideas on how to improve schools, newscaster Dan Rather said at the opening General Session Saturday at NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

Reauthorizing ESEA

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was a decade in the making. “Everyone knew what was wrong and not working, and that it required legislative change, but there was no political capital for the change,” says Michael Zola, NSBA’s associate executive director of federal advocacy and public policy.

Gentzel: Education is the new frontier

It’s time for school board members to champion public education as the key to a brighter future for America—and to put the issue of education front and center in today’s political debate.

That was the call to action NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel shared today with school leaders at NSBA’s 76th Annual Conference in Boston at the first General Session.

“We need to get that message out. That message must be heard,” he said. “Public education is too important an issue to sit on the sidelines.”

Transforming with technology

The documentary Most Likely to Succeed examines a California high school that has up-ended the traditional approach to education. Instead of relying on a teacher-centered model that has little changed in more than 100 years, High Tech High in San Diego has become a student-centered model. It emphasizes project-based learning, critical thinking, collaboration, and other skills better suited to a 21st century, information-based workforce.

Attendees at a Friday preconference session at NSBA’s annual conference in Boston got a viewing of the award-winning film.

Color blindness hampers work to close achievement gaps

School leaders wanting to reduce gaps in student achievement and success can’t proclaim “I don’t see a child’s color” and advance such efforts. In fact, such positions may hamper change.

That advice was shared by several speakers at NSBA’s Annual Conference preconference workshop on Friday, “Achieving Equity: Leadership Strategies and Promising Practices for Closing the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps.” The clinic centered on equity programs of the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) and two districts in that state.

The keys to transforming high-poverty schools

Frequently, a key to a high-poverty/high-performing school depends as much on what the educators stop doing as on what they start doing to effect change.

That’s a lesson Boise State University researcher Bill Parrett has learned in 25-plus years examining poverty and learning. Parrett, a regular NSBA speaker for two decades, offered insights into his studies of dozens of U.S. high-poverty/high-performing schools during a Friday preconference workshop at NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

Tech trends school board members need to know

Every school district needs to have a strategy for ensuring that technology initiatives result in better outcomes for students, according to two speakers at a pre-conference session at NSBA’s annual conference in Boston on Friday. The session was “Setting a Course for the Future: What Board Members Need to Know About Technology Trends.”

School leaders assemble at NSBA 76th Annual Conference

More than 7,000 school board members, speakers, vendors, and exhibitors are converging on the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center through Monday for NSBA’s annual conference.

The conference officially opens on Saturday. This is NSBA’s 76th annual conference and its second appearance in the city of Boston.

School boards and the First Amendment

School board members and their First Amendment rights was the topic of a Friday session at the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Seminar, held in conjunction with NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

The session was presented by Karla Schultz of Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo, & Kyle, PC, in Austin, Texas, and Mark Tilley of the Texas Association of School Boards, also in Austin.

Both presenters used case law as examples of what school board members, as elected official and private citizens, can and cannot do under their right to free speech.


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