I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

National School Boards Association Convention San Diego 2009 Day 2

The NSBA convention is in full swing on day two. So far this morning I have attended two interesting and informative break out sessions.

The first was a presentation sponsored by the National Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund, the topic was ensuring that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) meets the needs of all students.

The thrust of the presentation was a speech and powerpoint on opportunities for districts nationwide to benefit from the stimulus package to supplement education delivery to latino students, and students of color. Some statistics were presented that illustrate that the U.S. is making progress on closing the achievement gap between white students and students of latino and black backgrounds, but that stark disparities in achievement, high school retention, and college preparedness still exist between these three classes of students.

Additional information online at:

The second breakout session I attended this morning dealt with 21st century learning--preparing students for a more technological and global world.

This session focused on what local districts must do to ensure that today's students become prepared for our ever changing society by learning 21st century skills and global awareness.

The presenters focused on integrating language teaching in other core curricular subjects. A district that was showcased as a model for early language training was the Menasha Joint School District from Wisconsin. They have innovative methods for teaching thier students foreign languages from Kindergarten through grade 12.

more information here:

(I'd like to see the new Escambia County downtown elementary school borrow some of the language learning strategies from the Menasha Wisconsin program--which has been in effect and wildly successful since 1993)

Two other presentations were given, with the emphasis on focusing less on drilling students with only standard core competencies, but rather on the need for broadening learning horizons to emphasize other cultures, (particularly asian cultures) languages, and 21st century technologies.

Good additional online information on these subjects can be found at:

the common demoniator from these second and third presentations is that students of tomorrow must be prepared differently starting today, so that they not only master traditional core competencies, but also become:

1. critical thinkers
2. problem solvers
3. innovators
4 effective communicators
5. effective collaborators
6. self-directed learners
7. information and media literate
8. globally aware
9. civically engaged
10. financially and economically literate

I think we have a lot of work to do on some of these categories, and it will be challenging, but I agree that we have to start doing things differently than we always have.

Next on today's convention agenda, the second general session featuring keynote speaker, Nobel Prize winning, best selling author Toni Morrison. her works include, The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Song of Solomon.

Later in the day, I'll be attending an additional small group session sponsored by the NSBA on making the recent stimulus package work for local districts like Escambia County.

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