Board members attend national conference

First Posted: 6/4/2009

The National School Board Association held its annual conference in San Diego, Calif. April 4-7 and despite the tough economic times, area school board members still made the trip some paying a portion of the cost from their own pockets.
Wendy Carriker and Kate Appler made the trip on behalf of the Mount Airy City Board of Education. According to Carriker, they booked their tickets for the trip before economic conditions forced cutbacks in school spending. When the time came for the trip, however, they pitched in paid half of the expenses out of pocket with the school system funding the other half of the trip.
Carriker thinks attending the conference was worth the added expense because of what board members bring back to their home school systems. Board members are also required by law to attend at least 12 hours of continuing education each year and the conference counts towards those hours.
The sessions and the speakers are excellent. Just being with the other board members from all across the United States and even some from Canada, you can learn about how theyre funded and what works and what doesnt, she said.
Each of the sessions are put on by other school systems so board members can choose the ones that best relate to their home system. The city school system has been able to take programs and ideas from the conferences to implement in Mount Airy. The positive behavior support model the schools implemented this year came from a session during last years conference.
Carriker said that with the budget crunch she is not sure if they will be able to implement any of the programs from this years conference, but said they learned about some new technology that would benefit the system if it can be funded.
In addition to the sessions, a number of businesses also set up at the conference, including the company that hosts the city schools Web site. They were able to see new features the business is offering as well as new products.
Brian Gates represented the Surry County Board of Education at the conference. The county school system paid his way and Gates also agrees that it was money well spent. He said that it is common practice for the school system to foot the bill to send a representative to the conference to bring back information.
We have brought back several initiatives that the school system has looked at. It is also a good time to look at best practices, he said.
One program that he found of particular interest this year was the one that spoke on engineering your future. It is an online curriculum for high school science and math students that is project-based with a focus on engineering.
It was very exciting to be able to take a look at that program, he said.
Gates also passed on all of the information he collected to Assistant Superintendent Pat Widdowson, who oversees curriculum and instruction for the school system.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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