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NSBA Conference Returns to Chicago
May 10, 2010

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Chicago once again hosted the National School Boards Association Annual Conference and Exposition. Approximately 936 Illinois school board members and administrators registered and attended. Many IASB staff also joined in the events, which were held from April 9 to 12 at the new McCormick Place West.

The annual conference, which rotates among four cities, was last held in Chicago four years ago, as a replacement for hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. The other cities in the rotation are San Diego, San Francisco (2011) and Boston, which will replace Orlando in 2012.

Attendees were inspired by high-profile speakers, including PBS show host Charlie Rose, jazz musician and arts advocate Wynton Marsalis, and Apple Computer co-founder and education advocate Steve Wozniak.

This year’s conference featured scores of board member development sessions and workshops as well as new products and services showcased at the NSBA Exposition during the four-day event. The conference also featured current national topics affecting education leaders in their local districts, including school district implementation of the federal economic stimulus package.

Several Illinois school districts made panel presentations. Panels are listed by district, location, title, and participants:

Benjamin School District 25 , West Chicago; Attracting and Retaining the Best Staff Through the PeeWee PALS Program; Moderator: Philip Ehrhardt, superintendent; Presenters: Jack Buscemi, Jan Bedard, board member

Calumet Public SD 132 , Calumet Park; A Place to Call Home; Moderator: Elizabeth Reynolds, superintendent; Presenters: Ernestine Stover, and Barbara Thomas, board members; and Josephine Tate, union vice-president

Chicago SD 299 , Chicago;Mathematics in a Spiky World: Creating Opportunities that Promote Competitiveness; Presenters: Shawn Smith, chief area officer; Ann Chavez, curriculum director, Area 13; and Nicholas Gaines, resident principal, New Leaders for New Schools

Glenview CCSD 34, The School Board Fieldbook: Leading with Vision; Moderator: Perry Soldwedel, associate director for systems change, Consortium for Educational Change; Presenters: Mark Van Clay, educational consultant, Consortium for Educational Change; Beth Primer, board pesident

Lake Villa CCSD 41, District Dashboard: A Progress Monitoring and Reporting Tool to Improve Student Achievement and Organizational Performance; Moderator: John Van Pelt, superintendent; Presenters: Alex Barbour, executive director of teaching and learning; Darla Vanderwall and Joanne Osmond, board members

Matteson ESD 162, Beating the Odds…and Then Some ; Moderator: Alicia Rodman-McCray, board member; Presenters: Roger Prietz, director of technology; Blondean Davis, superintendent; Ron Bean, board member; Brian Ali, associate superintendent

Northbrook ESD 27, Interest-Based Bargaining at its Best: A Culture of Collaboration that is Efficient and Effective; Moderator: David Kroeze, superintendent; Presenters: Jennifer Warner, board member, and Sheila Streets, president, Faculty Leadership; Theresa Fournier, assistant superintendent of personnel and pupil services; and Kimberly Arakelian, assistant superintendent, finance and operations

Palos CCSD 118 , Palos Park; Naturalizing Digital Immigrants: Supporting Technology Initiatives to Transform Teaching and Learning; Moderator: Margaret Johnson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning; Presenters: Catherine Maier, board secretary; Kathleen Svanascini, board member; Deborah Balayti, coordinator of teaching and learning technologies

Pleasantdale SD 107 , Burr Ridge; Data Analysis: A Critical Path to Improved Achievement;   Moderator: Patti Essig, board member; Presenters: Mark Fredisdorf, superintendent; Leandra Sedlack and Rick Rigley, board members; Mia Mologousis, student

Schaumburg CCSD 54; Forming a Collaborative Working Relationship with Your Unions; Moderator:Karen Strykowski, board member; Presenters: Teresa Huber, board member; Carmel Cottrell, president, Schaumburg Education Association; Kathy Jesuit, president, Schaumburg Educational Employees Organization

Steger SD 194; Get Them, Grow Them, Keep Them...Retaining High Quality Educators; Moderator: Lisa Harrod, assistant superintendent; Presenters: John Geraci and John Kaminski, board members

Tinley Park CCSD 146; A Digital Journey from Computer Labs to Digital Classrooms; Moderator: Marion Hoyda, superintendent; Presenters: Nancy Schwab, director of curriculum; Dean Casper, board member; George Paulson, systems administrator; Denise Bettenhausen, assistant superintendent

Township HSD 211, Palatine; Building Bridges with Parents: An Essential Strategy for Improving Both Student Health and Academic Achievement; Moderator: Linda Sheriff, coordinator, School Health Programs, NSBA; Presenters: Mary Haley, director, Partner Programs, Action for Healthy Kids, Amanda Martinez, project associate, Coordinated School Health, NSBA; Debra Strauss, president, Illinois PTA, and board member, Township High School

Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200; Going Paperless: How to Implement a Fully Automated Paperless Board Meeting Solution; Moderator: Frank Resta, CEO and President, ElectronicSchoolBoard by InterCom Network; Presenter: Mary Lou Sender, board secretary

Zion-Benton THSD 126; Integrating Technology and Teaching to Create Future Leaders; Presenters: Chris Clark, superintendent; and Lee Fleming, senior school development coach, New Tech Network

In addition to the above panel sessions, Township High School District 214, hosted an all-day “winning strategies” site visit to showcase technology approaches in the district. Visitors got a first-hand look at how a well-planned infrastructure can help support learning. Besides three school visits, the session featured roundtable discussions that incorporated administrative considerations, planning, professional development and the costs required to execute the strategies on display.

Several Illinois board members also participated in the NSBA Delegate Assembly held on April 9. Voting on 20 new resolutions and 19 amendments were IASB President Joe Alesandrini, a delegate to the national assembly, and immediate past president Mark C. Metzger, who co-chairs the policies and resolutions committee for NSBA. In addition to Alesandrini, other NSBA delegates from Illinois were IASB Vice President Carolyne Brooks, and IASB directors Tariq Butt and Joanne Osmond.

After a sometimes impassioned discussion, the assembly defeated amendments that would have added either one or three state executive directors as voting members to the national association’s board of directors.

For more information about the 2010 NSBA delegate assembly issues and the actions taken, visit online at: .

School design awards

Illinois had five districts of the 59 awards given to recognized outstanding projects in the Exhibition of School Architecture. Niles THSD 219’s STEM labs at Niles North and Niles West received one of just four Citations awarded in the competition. Legat Architects Inc. of Chicago was praised by the judges for the “look and feel of commercial labs” that “represent a best practice for STEM laboratories.”

Other Illinois projects, districts and architects recognized were:

Dewey Elementary School, Evanston-Skokie CCSD 65, OWP/P-Canon Design, Chicago

Memorial Junior High School, Lansing SD 158, JMA Architects, South Holland

Metea Valley High School, Indian Prairie CUSD 204, DLR Group, Chicago;

Minooka High School South Campus, Minooka CHSD 111, STR Partners LLC, Chicago

Flossmoor District 161 was one of 15 Magna Award honorable mention winners in an annual competition recognizing innovative solutions to the challenges faced in public education today. School board and district best practices are honored each year at the NSBA conference during a special luncheon.

IASB staff also participated in panels, workshops and other conference events.

Field Services Director John Cassel presented a pre-conference session, “Teambuilding and the BOE,” explaining how board members can work cooperatively together to assure effective leadership for their district. Associate Executive Director for Board Development Angela Peifer also presented at a Friday workshop, “Good Measures/Good School Governance: Helping School Boards Create a Culture for Data Use.” That session provided an in-depth look at a school board development process she helped to develop on the effective use of data for decision making.

Director of Executive Searches Donna Johnson, senior consultant Douglas Blair, and consultants Dawn Miller and Thomas Leahy, participated in the State Associations Executive Job Fair, designed to better prepare prospective applicants for school superintendent positions.

IASB General Counsel Melinda Selbee and Assistant General Counsel Kimberly Small discussed the ins and outs of “Public Participation 9-1-1: Let’s End Disruptive Meetings.” They discussed how understanding board policy can guide public participation in board meetings, and offered best-practice ideas.

Associate Executive Director for Communications James Russell later helped prepare school leaders to “Spread the Word” about their conference experience and discoveries. He provided tips and guidelines for communicating what attendees learned at NSBA, and to help them explain back home why professional development is valuable.

Selbee, Small, as well as Associate Executive Director of Field Services and Policy Services Cathy Talbert were involved in the national meeting of the Council of School Attorneys (COSA). All three shared some programming ideas in that session for state association counsel a day before the start of the NSBA conference.

Other staff members attending NSBA were field services directors Barbara Toney, Dean Langdon, Larry Dirks, and Dave Love; policy services Director Anna Lovern; and policy consultants Nancy Bohl, Laurel DiPrima and Jackie Griffith.

The IASB staff and Association officers also hosted the Illinois reception on Friday at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Hundreds of guests from Illinois and other state associations were invited. Assistant to the Executive Director Pat Culler said, “This was really a terrific event because it brought together so many board members from around the state for informal discussions over common concerns.” The reception was co-sponsored by PMA Financial Network, RBC Global Asset Management, and FGM Architects.

More information about this year’s event can be found at the NSBA conference website:

View NSBA Conference Pictures

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