Welcome to ASCD 2006

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) Annual Conference and Exhibit Show begins Saturday, April 1, at the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. More than 600 sessions will allow attendees to explore ideas in education, examine new developments in content areas or grade levels, and expand professional development learning.

ASCD said more than 13,000 educators are expected to attend the three-day event, which will feature sessions presented by nationally known consultants and academicians on a wide variety of topics, including No Child Left Behind, teacher leadership, worldwide learning, technology, closing the achievement gap, and What Works in Schools.

The theme for this year’s conference is "Constructing the Future, Challenging the Past: Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership," and different topic strands include learning and teaching, leadership and organizational development, and policy and advocacy.

The learning and teaching area will focus on how to improve reading and writing in content areas, how to integrate the arts and technology across the curriculum, and fostering a worldwide perspective, and much more.

Leadership and organizational development topics include preparing and sustaining quality educators, learning how to build leadership capacity and efficacy, how to capitalize on the potential of technology, and increasing diversity among educational leaders.

During discussions on policy and advocacy, conference attendees will focus on how to encourage and apply effective advocacy skills, how to build strategic partnerships to influence policy, and how to challenge mediocrity.

The conference’s Saturday opening general session, "Growing a Mind: What We Are Learning About Learning Should Influence What We Are Teaching About Teaching," will be delivered by Mel Levine, co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute that helps struggling students.

During his session, Levine will give an overview of recent discoveries about the "wiring" of children’s minds. In addition, he will update participants on new advances in the understanding of learning, variations in brain performance, and the risks involved in labeling students.

Bonnie St. John, a leadership coach, speaker, and author, will deliver a second general session speech, "Keeping the Winning Spirit," on Sunday. St. John will offer up personal stories to challenge attendees to break through to new levels of performance in all circumstances.

Other speakers include education specialist Sarita Brown will offer strategies to accelerate success for Latino students, lecturer Carl Glickman will provide insight into the deeper problems causing the achievement gap, and education reformer Deborah Meier will focus on schools as a model of democracy and learning.

Various sessions include the annual ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award, which is given to an educator who has advanced excellence and equity in teaching and learning, "Closing the Achievement Gap Through Postsecondary Education," in which a panel will discuss practical guides and new models to encourage students to stay in school, and during "Ten Trends You Cannot Afford to Ignore," presenters will discuss trends that will shape educational delivery systems of the future and the implications for schools.



Laura Ascione

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