NSBA 67th Conference Notes

Starting Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in the NSBA’s annual conference from a different point of view. I was asked to represent Delaware as a member of it’s delegation to the annual assembly where policies and new officers are elected to this national organization. It was like sitting down on the floor of a Presidental election convention, and each state had its table where the delegates would cast their votes. It was a different world for this quiet small town board member, and I got a chance to shake hands with many folks including the out-going and in-coming Presidents of the NSBA. Friday was a long day with the entire NSBA delegate assembly taking from 8am to 4pm, but then there was the Leadership reception where I was introduced to more folks, including the out-going Northeast Regional Director Mr. Tony Wong from MD.
Saturday found this board member attending the opening day of the actual conference with many training sessions starting at 8am. The first class I attended was titled ” The High School to College Transition: A Three-ring CIrcus”. Presented by Mr. Peter Van Buskirk, a former college admissions officer, it was geared at helping board members understand how to help parents of college bound students see clearly through the haze of choosing a college. A key point was that students and their parents need to talk about and think about college by the time the student leaves Middle school. Also students should consider how they spend their senior year as more and more selective schools consider this year as important as the other three. The most interesting discussion of the session however was how the ratings by US News & World Report are used by many to rate or choose colleges, but they are actually a marketing ploy by the institutions who actually grade themselves. Bottomline, parents need to work with their students to see they make the right choices for themselves based on needs not what looks good on paper.
After this session, I attended the general session where former South African President F.W. de Klerk spoke about living with change, and we had a video message from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Both speakers where very good, and their message of how important managing change is for school boards, and being the voice for children was the role of todays board members.
Last part of this busy day I attended two other sessions, one being about building greener schools, and finally the importance of the arts in teaching children in the 21st century. As a member of the new school construction commitee for the board I thought it was important we look at how to save money through new technology. I will post notes from my other training sessions hopefully each day as I feel its important that the public know what board members do when we go to these training sessions.


About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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