Monday, November 27, 2006

Understand the True “Scope” of Effective Professional Development

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of giving the opening Keynote for the 12th Annual SCOPE Technology Conference, “Lead By Design: Technology Integration Across the Curriculum”, in Long Island, New York. The SCOPE Education Services of Long Island, NY is a powerful example of educational leaders, passionate about effective staff development based on student learning, who has built an organization to make a difference.

SCOPE is a not-for-profit, private organization permanently chartered by the New York State Board of Regents to provide services to school districts. School superintendents founded SCOPE in 1964 as a cooperative venture for sharing resources to deal with common concerns. It is governed by a Board of Directors made up of school superintendents and college representatives and serves as a regional School Study Council and School Board Institute.

As I peruse the SCOPE catalogue of exciting fall course opportunities, consisting of 62 pages of “right on… use them today strategies”, (not to mention the full range of educational services), I am very impressed.

I was even more impressed with the leading educators I met at the conference. Dr. Joseph Del Rosso, Executive Director and former Superintendent, is passionate and knowledgeable about effective professional development design. His Professional Development Staff knows we cannot expect teacher and administrator training of the past to prepare our present students for the future.

Betty Westcott, Assistant Director of Professional Development, is the energetic key organizer for the conference. With her wit and skill, plus a very hard working staff, she ran an exciting professional development event designed around the Long Island learner. The SCOPE organization “gets it” … they demonstrate strong professional development is a process, continually evaluated, of improving educator competencies and skills for the purpose of accelerating student learning.

We can all learn from them:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

As Much As I Hate Politics…I’m Watching 36 Battles For Governor Next Week

Education is a “hot topic” for gubernatorial candidates seeking election next week. It seems like all thirty-six are portraying themselves as the “education governor” from information in a thought provoking and informative article from Education Week.

The story “Education Eyed in 36 Battles for Governor: Candidates running on pre-K, performance pay, voucher.” written by Michele McNeil, includes an impressive interactive map of the gubernatorial candidates and their education platforms.

“Every one of those governors is running on what they’re going to do for education. Every candidate says, ‘I want to be the education governor,’ ” said Bob Wise, who was West Virginia’s governor from 2001 to 2005. A Democrat, he is now the executive director of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based advocacy group that works to improve high schools.

McNeil says, “Whatever the outcomes on Nov. 7, the nation will have at least 10 new state governors, because the incumbents are prevented by term limits from running again, chose not to seek re-election, or were defeated in a primary election.”

From personal experience as Assistant Superintendent of a K-12 District, I know that whom ever sits in the governors chair effects daily life in the classroom, offices, and board rooms of every district in the state.
Knowing that our votes cast in next month’s 36 gubernatorial elections will help shape future K-12 policies, from how schools are financed to how teachers are paid, you may want to view the interactive map within the article to see what the future of our nations schools could look like.

Ask Yourself: Is your governor’s seat up for grabs on November 7? Do you know their education platform? Can we elect a real “education governor”?

Other Resources: All About Governors

Go inside a governor’s office to learn about the 2006 elections at the National Governors Association Website.

View National Governors Association Meeting Summaries and search through any governors’ database in the site’s Governors section. From the list of states with elections in 2006 you can click on the underlined gubernatorial candidates' names to access campaign websites.