Throughout my long career in teacher education and supervision in K12 school districts, I participated in almost every staff development model anyone can suggest, starting with print-based courses at a distance. The in-person options included doing national tours for school executives in major cities, sponsored by companies such as Microsoft and the former Compaq; week-long summer programs in colleges and universities; weekend and after-school programs in school districts; presentations at professional conferences; and one-day workshops hosted at hotels across the country.
Over the years, I did staff development programs in most states and in Canada, and did two summers in Europe for the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS). The topics ranged from science, math, curriculum development, and gifted education, to online technologies, computer programming, and teaching techniques. Needless to say, I am well-familiar with packing and unpacking (not to mention collecting hotel soaps and little bottles of shampoo!). In fact, my coast-to-coast record, on a week’s vacation from the University of Connecticut, was presenting a day-long program in Cleveland on Monday, Detroit on Tuesday, Chicago on Wednesday, Denver on Thursday, and arriving in San Francisco on Friday for a presentation on Monday. “Road warrior” indeed!
Such rigorous on-the-road consulting is clearly a young person’s game, which is why I am no longer on the professional development circuit. However, some readers know that three of us from the original Emmy-award-winning Schoolhouse Rock, on ABC-TV back in the ’70s, are doing a 40-year anniversary reunion keynote presentation this month at the statewide Hot Springs Technology Institute in Arkansas. This outstanding district-led conference, now in its 20th year, was founded by former Hot Springs school superintendent Roy Rowe and is run by his protégées Don Benton and Wanda Hall (hsti.hssd.net). But I still cover the national conventions of our professional organizations, including ALAS, ASCD, NCTM and NSTA, and look forward to talking with readers at ISTE in San Antonio later this month. Be sure to visit our booth (#10106)!
This issue addresses a variety of topics pertinent to updated K12 staff development, including Ron Schachter’s feature on next-generation science standards, Avi Asher-Schapiro’s article on cloud-based technologies, Alison DeNisco’s piece on working with at-risk students, and Angela Pascopella’s interview with outgoing Newtown Superintendent Janet Robinson on school security. It also includes the latest version of my “K12 Hotspots on the Web” guide to favorite online resources that I distribute at presentations. Feel free to make copies for your staff and students, and/or include them on your website.
The June issue also marks the end of my tenure as executive editor of District Administration, as I change roles to get back to the personal writing I deferred while I was in this chair. Starting next month, I will continue as monthly columnist and editor-at-large for District Administration and our sister publication University Business, and represent each at conferences and in the education industry. I’ve had a wonderful time returning to DA these two years, where I once served as editor in chief, and give thanks and kudos to the “best education team in the business.” Best wishes for an excellent summer and successful year ahead!