Conference Daily

Tough problems? Try design thinking

If you are frustrated with seemingly intractable problems in your school district, try “design thinking.” That was the advice from two presenters from North Carolina State University’s during NSBA’s pre-conference session on Friday entitled, “Rural District Forum: New Thinking About Unique Challenges.”

Pioneered at Stanford University, design thinking is the ability to understand problems and develop creative solutions, according to Mary Ann Wolf and Nancy Magnum of NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

Oklahoma General Counsel earns COSA Distinguished Service Award

When Oklahoma superintendents are faced with a tough legal issue, they think: WWJD – what would Julie do? “They know she’ll keep them out of hot water” said Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) Executive Director Shawn Hime.

The “Julie” he was speaking about is Julie Miller, the deputy executive director and general counsel for OSSBA. Miller received NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Distinguished Service Award on Friday at the School Law Seminar in Philadelphia.

COSA School Law Seminar opens with Constitutional predictions

The U.S. Supreme Court shifted when Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last year. What will Kennedy’s absence as a swing voter and the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh mean for decisions that will affect schools and education law? While no knows the answer for sure, law professor Jeffrey Rosen discussed some predictions on how the next iteration of the Roberts Court will decide.

Rosen opened NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Seminar on Thursday afternoon. He is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center of Philadelphia.

NSBA's 2019 Annual Conference opens in Philly

More than 7,000 school leaders, exhibitors, and speakers are gathering in Philadelphia for NSBA’s Annual Conference. They will hear inspiring and informative speakers, learn about new and different ways to increase student achievement, and discover how national education trends will shape their districts, communities, and students. Importantly, they will get a vital opportunity to network with peers from across the country.The annual conference officially starts on Saturday and runs to Monday.

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.


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