Conference Daily

NSBA, AASA execs worry about board member, superintendent turnover, impact on districts

When Tom Gentzel and Dan Domenech have a dialogue, it harkens back to the movie, “Holiday Inn.” That establishment opened only on holidays, but it was worth being there when it did. With a collective 62 years working with school boards and superintendents, NSBA Executive Director Gentzel and Domenech, his counterpart with American Association of School Administrators, gave a Saturday clinic audience a wealth of stories mixed with experience-based insights. It was a refreshed conversation they share twice each year, most recently at last month’s AASA conference in San Diego.

Delegate Assembly approves advocacy marching orders

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography

NSBA’s Delegate Assembly approved the association’s “advocacy marching orders” at its business session Friday in Nashville. The meeting was held right before the start of NSBA’s Annual Conference, which opened Saturday.

“These resolutions form the basis for NSBA’s advocacy effort throughout the year,” said NSBA 2014-15 President Anne Byrne. “The delegates also voted on Beliefs and Policies that become part of NSBA’s enduring beliefs.”

The annual resolutions are in three core areas:

Luncheon speaker advice on understanding urban youth

Michael Eric Dyson, author, radio host, and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, assured the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Luncheon attendees Saturday at NSBA's annual conference in Nashville that he was there to be a cheerleader for them, and to discuss how they can help themselves, help their boards, and ultimately help their students.

In a lively talk heavily laced with music references old and new, Dyson shared some suggestions for board members faced with the challenge of governing urban school districts.

Boards and student achievement connection

A common misconception in communities around the country is that board members and superintendents do not have an impact on student achievement. Do boards and superintendents really matter? According to Ivan J. Lorentzen, professor at Flathead Community College, and William P. McCaw, professor at the University of Montana, the answer is not only do they matter, they matter a great deal.

The gift of public education

Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Photography

The nation’s first Native American woman elected to a statewide office brings a passion about public education to her job as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. And that passion poured forth Saturday during her luncheon address to the National Caucus of American Indian/Alaska Native School Board Members.

Religion in schools -- A matter of trust and training

Buy the fire truck before the fire – that is the advice of Charles Haynes. “Get prepared for this,” he told an audience of school attorneys. “School districts that have a trust level with their community are in the best position to avoid litigation.”

“This” is conflicts on religion in public schools – which Haynes, senior scholar and director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, said are mostly preventable with policies, staff training, and building trust in the community.

Rethinking teacher tenure

A hundred years ago, teachers could be fired for any reason: race, creed, political favoritism, marriage, pregnancy. In the 1920s, some unlucky teachers were terminated for wearing pants.

While no one wants to return to those days, many people believe that the teacher tenure pendulum has swung too far the other way, making it nearly impossible for school districts to terminate ineffective teachers.

School leaders converge at NSBA 75th Annual Conference

More than 7,000 school board members, speakers, vendors, and exhibitors are converging on Nashville’s Music City Center through Monday for NSBA’s annual conference.

The conference officially opens on Saturday. This is NSBA’s 75th annual conference and its first in the city of Nashville.

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