Conference Daily

Williams calls on board members to stand up, step up, speak up for public schools

Motoring the floor between rows of attendees at Monday afternoon, radio and TV personality Montel Williams provided an energizing close to NSBA’s 75th annual conference in Nashville.

Sporting a bright red “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” badge, Williams delivered – “shot gunned,” as he put it – his assertion that school board members must spread the word about issues such as how U.S. public schools graduated a record 82 percent of high school seniors last year, including more than 140,000 minorities.

Teach children to be pirates, futurist says

When TV meteorologists forecast the weather, they primarily look to the future by minutes, hours, or days. When David Zach, one of the world’s few professionally trained futurists, talks about looking ahead, he challenges listeners to focus yesterday’s connection to tomorrow.

Teacher of the Year shares positive message

Having been raised in what can be politely called "difficult circumstances," the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb understands more than most how good schools and teachers often serve as a sanctuary for students. Because two specific teachers provided a safe place for him to learn, and saw potential in him that he did not see in himself, he eventually was inspired to become a teacher.

Bringing girls to STEM

When high school students are asked about their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, about a third of the boys say they are very interested. Only one in five of the girls say the same thing.

This data has not changed since 2003, said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. Her group has been polling and collecting data on students and technology for decades.

What will your legacy be?

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography

Roland Martin, nationally award-winning journalist and television host, challenged National Black Council of School Board Members Luncheon attendees on Sunday to become "radical revolutionaries" in the battle to improve public education.

Social engagement done the RIGHT way

When Angela Maiers, teacher, author, and consultant, asked the question, "How often do you hear stories about social media going very wrong?" a majority of the audience raised their hands. Because of this basic narrative, framed by people who do not "live" in social media, board members and school systems are hesitant on social media because they do not want to get it wrong.

Focus on student learning and transform schools

When Eric Sheninger was a principal at New Milford High School in Bergen, N.J., he said, he spent a lot of time taking away students’ devices at school. “Our excuse was that it had no benefit to learning,” he said. “What we don’t know, we fear, and we make excuses.”

His “ah ha” moment came when he took the device of one student, who told him their school was like a jail. “He was right,” he said.

Speaker Pogue says don't fear new technology

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography

From a dizzying tour of the mobile app world to rousing rendering of his YouTube sing-along, “iPhone: the Video” (sung to the Sinatra standard, “My Way”), technology columnist and PBS Nova host David Pogue employed humor and the awe of what is and is yet to come with his audience at Sunday morning’s Second General Session at NSBA’s annual conference in Nashville.

Foster atmosphere of caring for all kids

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography


Richard Santana, once a third-generation member of one of California’s largest gangs, put the focus on transformation – in message and in action – during his speech to the National Hispanic Council of School Board Members’ Sunday breakfast at NSBA's annual conference in Nashville.

Ron Clark: Help your best teachers

Ron Clark speaking at Magna

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography

Schools are like buses. Some teachers are runners; others are joggers and walkers. Then there are riders. “The true problem is the people sitting on the bus,” said Ron Clark. “They drag everyone down.”

Clark, former Teacher of the Year and the founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, spoke at the School Leaders Luncheon Saturday at NSBA’s annual conference in Nashville. During his presentation, he moved constantly throughout the room, jumping up on empty chairs and making eye contact with the audience.


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