July 2009 Archives

Ah...back home. I'm unpacked, readjusted to Pacific Daylight Time, and planning what to do with my remaining days before school starts. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 2009 Conference and Exhibition is now history, but I've brought back plenty of information - packets, handouts, lists, web links, business cards. What next? I face this situation any time I attend a conference, and if you're reading this blog after having attended NBTPS or any other conference or workshop this summer, maybe you can relate. While I was there, I had so many ideas about how I could apply what ...


I can't leave Atlanta without mentioning one of the more exciting projects I heard about. Lori Nazareno is about to take the helm as the Lead Teacher at Denver’s brand new Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy. Nazareno is an NBCT on the Board of Directors of NBPTS, and a member of Teacher Leaders Network. Her new school will be run entirely by the teachers, and it is a project that has certainly attracted attention, reflected in the full enrollment, the number of teachers who applied to work there, and the promises from staff at Denver Public Schools to lend ...


"I'm not a teacher, but as a parent..." That's not the type of prefatory statement commonly heard in discussions at an educational conference. The speaker was Sarah Hubbard, of Belmont, California, and when she spoke up, I think every teacher's attention grew a little sharper. There were thirty to forty teachers in the room, and we applauded her for being here and speaking up. Hubbard is attending the NBPTS Conference, as she attends other conferences, in a professional capacity for her employer, Professional Publications Inc. However, in this particular session on the topic of teacher leadership and promoting National Board ...


In educational organizations and discussions, when we're talking about schooling up to high school graduation, we often shorthand the age range as "K-12" and leave out the "PK" - pre-kindergarten, or early childhood education. However, National Board Certification in Early Childhood education does include the first teachers who work with our youngest students. Michael de la Torre is an NBCT and a bilingual pre-school teacher at Bryson Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles Unified School District (and also a member of the NBPTS Board of Directors). I met him at a Saturday morning conference session about teacher leadership, and I asked ...


Last night, I finally had my peach cobbler. Ever since I arrived in Atlanta, I've been waiting to enjoy a good peach dessert, but without getting into all the particulars, let's just say it took a while. I liked it more than the kangaroo burger I ate a few weeks ago in Katoomba, Australia. Whenever I travel, for work or pleasure, I try my hardest to sample some of the local food, music, and other culturally distinct elements of the place. In addition to the peach cobbler, I've had collard greens, black-eyed peas, and fried okra while in Atlanta. I ...


I've been struck by the sheer size of our nation today, the complexity and diversity of the United States. I've been talking with people from every region of the country, from Hawaii to Maine, Florida to California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama, and the list goes on. And what really stood out this afternoon was how different our situations are. Our states vary significantly in terms of the structure and funding of education, and how teachers and students are assessed. In some states teachers are unionized, and in some they're not, and the mythical "union" position on any given issue dissolves when ...


Today's luncheon panel at the NBPTS Conference included two principals from schools in or near our host city, Atlanta. Both gentlemen, Shannon Flounnory and Darian Jones, lead schools that have made broad use of Take One! - an introductory version of National Board Certification - as a professional growth and school improvement strategy. They were able to cite multiple measures of the impressive results for students that followed from having their teachers engage in a genuine learning community, doing work based on National Board Standards. Here are some of the notes and quotes I took from their talk, in which ...


"Research says…" How often have you heard that phrase tossed about? As teachers, we certainly want good information about how to help our students and our profession, but too often, we struggle with the gap between what “research says” and what we experience in our own schools and classrooms. Friday morning of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 2009 Conference kicked off with a panel of National Board Certified Teachers discussing a report they helped write. Measuring What Matters was commissioned by NBPTS and published last year by the Center for Teaching Quality, (parent organization of Teacher Leaders Network). ...


Before flying out to Atlanta, I asked a number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) who aren't attending the conference to share their thoughts about the event and the organization. The cost of travel was naturally one impediment, while other teachers had to make choices about which learning opportunity to take and ended up at other programs this week. Most teachers who replied to my queries would have liked to attend, but some feel little connection to the National Board after certifying. There's that idea again - all dressed up with with nowhere to go. But maybe some change is ...


Tectonic plates are colliding under the ocean of knowledge and information, and a tsunami is coming that will radically change the face of education as we know it. That was the message that Tom Welch delivered in today's opening session of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 2009 Conference and Exhibition. Welch (seen here talking to Michelle Johnson) set out to affirm and inspire the National Board Certified Teachers in attendance, and also warned us ahead of time that he intended to challenge us. As someone who likes a challenge, I sat up a bit straighter in my seat ...


Yes, I know it's a cliché, but I hear it used to describe National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) from time to time. After achieving certification, many NBCTs would be glad to have additional opportunities to work with the National Board, or to take on additional roles and responsibilities in their schools and districts. And many do. But the interest seems to outpace the opportunity in many places, leaving some certified teachers who want to help lead in their profession feeling "all dressed up with nowhere to go." Studies of the National Board certification process show that teachers overwhelmingly find it ...


Attending a national conference is energizing not only because of the opportunity to learn from some of the leaders in the field, but also because of learning that comes from meeting other attendees. We learn from talking with people diverse places, facing diverse challenges. We learn from the differences, and we learn from seeing that there are similarities as well. In a session I attended Wednesday morning, I found myself talking with a fellow English teacher, Delilah Stitt, of P.D. Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Stitt is a National Board Certified Teacher, and the new chair of the ...


My first full day in Atlanta is turning out to be rather quiet. This is the day of the pre-conference workshops – the “real” conference begins tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to a little more noise and activity. Many of the signs of a conference are evident. Groups of people are strolling or bustling through the wide and windowless hotel corridors, looking at signs and room names. We carry our NBPTS logo tote bags and try not to spill our coffee, as we peer at the session titles on foam core poster board resting on easels outside the meeting rooms. ...


Late Tuesday night in the hotel restaurant, when I finally had a chance to eat dinner, I watched parts of the Major League Baseball All-Star game. I was sitting with some teacher leaders from North, South, East and West, and try as we might, we couldn't avoid talking about education policy for very long. But with the game on in the background, I started thinking about the notion of being an All-Star. Players in the MLB All-Star game were selected by fans, peers, and the All-Star team managers, in a process that admits plenty of bias and relies greatly on ...


My suitcase is packed, all of my materials and electronic gear accounted for, and I’m heading to Atlanta for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 2009 National Conference and Exhibition. This trip will be my third in as many years to participate in national teacher leadership activities with NBPTS, but there’s an important difference this time, as I’ve taken on this live-blogging assignment for Teacher Magazine. I’m also proud to be writing under the banner of the Teacher Leaders Network (TLN), an outstanding group of educators whose collective wisdom and support helps to shape nearly ...


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  • David B. Cohen: A video of this talk has now been posted online: read more
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