Conference Daily

NSBA's Councils: Supporting the unique needs of historically disadvantaged students

NSBA has four councils that represent school board members in districts with underserved students. The councils—the National American Indian/Alaska Native Council of School Board Members (AIAN), the National Black Council of School Board Members (NBC), the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE), and the National Hispanic Council (NHC)—have been working for years to ensure that school board members both understand and are equipped to support the unique needs of historically disadvantaged children.

NSBA CEO Gentzel encourages boards to Stand Up

Providing tens of millions of children with a world-class education every day is a daunting responsibility, but our schools are making “incredible progress” in meeting the challenge thanks to committed and innovative problem-solving school leaders across the country. That was the message that NSBA Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Gentzel shared with attendees at Saturday’s General Session on the opening day of NSBA’s 77th Annual Conference in Denver.

Wagner: Help students become smart creatives

Our nation’s high schools need to be remade as places where students collaborate, teachers coach, and the competencies – not knowledge -- are measured, prominent education author Tony Wagner said at the closing General Session of NSBA’s Annual Conference Monday.

Wagner, a former high school teacher and K-8 principal, is Expert in Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab and co-author of the book Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era.

Developing equity policies on opportunity gaps

School boards wanting to address learning gaps between student demographic groups don’t have to start from scratch. And board policy can plan an important part of reducing those gaps by providing the district with a “race equity lens” for bring about desired change.

Accountability without standardization

Fresh off being named Indiana’s 2015 superintendent of the year, Rocky Killion made national news with an innovative – if not radical - suggestion to his district’s parents who didn’t want their students taking the state-mandated, no opt-out standardized assessment.

Withdraw your children, register them for home schooling, and after the three-week testing window ends, re-enroll them in our schools.

Achievement gap is a belief gap

Discussing racism and how it is embedded in the practices, policies, and procedures of schools makes for uncomfortable conversations. But having those conversations is essential if a school district is committed to closing academic achievement gaps, education equity leader Glenn Singleton told two full sessions of attendees Monday, the closing day of NSBA’s annual conference in Boston.

At the heart of the achievement gap is “a belief gap” over “who deserves a highly resourced education,” said Singleton, president of the consultant firm Pacific Educational Group.

School board bullying

Student bullying is a sad but all too common problem that school districts regularly contend with. Less well known is the problem of bullying school board members, superintendents, and their spouses, a panel said Sunday at NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

Bullying or mobbing (bullying by more than one) is the embarrassing “elephant in the room” that people don’t want to talk about, said Pamela Rockwood, superintendent of Indian Creek School District #425 in DeKalb County, Illinois.

Transgender students guide

Navigating legal issues around transgender students is among the most discussed and rapidly evolving topics in public schools today.

A new, easy to understand resource guide from NSBA answers many of the FAQs needed to support safe learning environments for all students, including transgender students.

Authentic STEAM

When New York’s Lynbrook Union Free School District purchased a couple of low-end 3-D printers, art teacher Michael Kunz and technology teacher Paul Rotstein had fun experimenting with them. What emerged was a partnership with a local hospital and a project that ended up benefiting children with cerebral palsy and other medical conditions.

Every student, every day in North Carolina

Have you heard of “edutourism”? It’s traveling to observe a high-performing school district.

One of the best examples is Mooresville, North Carolina – a town of 32,000 with three claims to fame: (1) it’s home to a number of NASCAR drivers, (2) Lowe’s Companies is headquartered there and (3) it has an acclaimed school district that has been favorably profiled in numerous education journals as well as mainstream media.

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