ASCD’s 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show coming to Philadelphia

ASCD will announce the 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA) winners during the annual conference.

ASCD is pleased to announce their 67th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, “A Collective Call to Action,” will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., March 24–26.

Reed Timmer, Discovery Education’s chief meteorologist and star of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers series, headlines the conference’s opening general session on March 24 with a powerful presentation, “The Science of Extreme Storm Chasing.”  Discovery Education, provider of high-quality, curriculum-based digital content to U.S. schools, is a lead partner for the 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show.  Also during this session, ASCD will announce the 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA) winners. The OYEA program recognizes education leaders under the age of 40 for making a profound difference in the lives of their students.

Other conference highlights include Harvard professor and best-selling author Atul Gawande’s March 25 general session, “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.” During this informative session, Gawande will share a systematic approach to accomplishing and measuring primary goals and will offer educators strategies for balancing mandates, standards, and reform-based assessments. Following this presentation, ASCD will announce the 2012 Vision in Action award-winning school, recognized for schoolwide efforts to ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Year after year, several thousand educators representing a diverse range of professional roles, countries, and experience levels; leading education experts; hundreds of exhibitors; and journalists and education bloggers turn to ASCD’s Annual Conference and Exhibit Show for an unrivaled, world-class professional development experience. Over the three conference days, attendees will:

  • Explore bold, new directions in designing and sustaining dynamic learning environments.
  • Discover proven ways to expand great expectations and opportunities for all learners.
  • Hear about effective models for redesigning schools for 21st century success.

This year’s conference will include a virtual streaming component intended for off-site attendees and educators interested in viewing select conference sessions live over the Internet or watching them in our archive at a later date. In addition, all nonmembers attending ASCD’s 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show will receive a yearlong complimentary ASCD Basic membership.

On the evening of March 24, ASCD EDge® will sponsor a casual networking opportunity for educators who have turned to social media, specifically Twitter, for professional growth. This ASCD Tweet Up will bring together ASCD authors, important leaders of the online education revolution, the @ASCD Twitter team, attendees who contribute to and follow the Annual Conference conversation online, and those simply interested in expanding their understanding of Twitter as a professional networking and learning tool. The official Twitter hashtag of ASCD’s 2012 Annual Conference is #ascd12.

To preview the event lineup or to register, visit the Annual Conference and Exhibit Show website. To learn more about ASCD and the benefits associated with becoming an ASCD member, visit


State to let parents play role in teachers’ pay

Parents across Idaho will now play a role in whether or not their child’s teacher gets a raise, the Associated Press reports. Teacher bonuses in more than two dozen school districts statewide will depend to some degree on how well they can engage parents throughout the year, as part of new education changes signed into law earlier this year. The laws championed by public schools chief Tom Luna carry sweeping changes for Idaho’s public schools that include phasing in laptops for high school teachers and students, while requiring online courses…

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Want to earn more money? Study STEM.

My colleague Peter Whoriskey, a math major, made a big splash last spring with a story that cited groundbreaking research by Georgetown University economist Anthony Carnevale. He showed that STEM majors earned up to 50 percent more over their lifetimes than humanities majors earned, Daniel de Vise for the Washington Post. Carnevale sent me some new charts last week that take the argument further. Math-science majors can earn more than humanities majors even with a lesser degree. Carnevale believes the economy has shifted over the past 30 years to reward academic fields over educational attainment. In other words: It doesn’t matter how long you have studied; it matters what you study…

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Watch: It’s 9:30 A.M…time for lunch!

Who hasn’t had their share of cold pizza for breakfast? But for high school students across Florida, their 9:30 a.m. meal is no makeshift breakfast from last night’s leftovers–it’s lunch time, the Huffington Post reports. At least 60 schools in Florida have received waivers from the Florida Department of Education to bypass a federal mandate requiring schools to serve lunch between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.–so they can offer the midday meal as early as 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. And the cafeteria doesn’t serve breakfast food for “lunch” at the early hour–offerings are the same as if students were eating in the middle of the day: burgers, fries, taco salads, barbecue subs, pepperoni and cheese sandwiches…

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No Child Left Behind waivers will likely end $650 million tutoring program

Dozens of states intend to apply for waivers that would free their schools from a federal requirement that they set aside hundreds of millions of dollars a year for after-school tutoring, a program many researchers say has been ineffective, the Associated Press reports. The 2002 No Child Left Behind law requires school districts that repeatedly fail to meet its benchmarks to set aside federal money to pay for outside tutors. But studies released in the past five years have found mixed results, at best, from the program. They say it has suffered from participation rates as low as 20 percent, uneven quality among tutors, a lack of coordination between tutors and teachers, poor oversight by the states and a prohibition against giving the lowest achieving students priority…

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Five education practices that should be replicated nationally

An Illinois district has boosted the percentage of its students meeting state standards by requiring reading classes throughout high school.

Education leaders are always looking for examples of successful programs they might be able to replicate within their own districts. But it can be challenging to find a program or policy that could work for hundreds, or even thousands, of diverse schools, districts, and states.

That’s why, in a follow-up question to our story, “Readers: These 10 education policies need to go,” we recently asked readers: “If you could name only one, what school or district practice would you like to see replicated or implemented nationally, and why?” Here are our readers’ best responses.

What do you think of these policies and practices? Could they be implemented on a national scale? And, do you have any ideas of your own for policies or practices that should be spread more widely? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

5. Monitoring networks to gauge application usage

“We developed a system called VIC (Virtual Information Center) that monitors all computers in the district to determine which applications are being used. This is not used in a punitive fashion, rather it is used to monitor if software or hardware is being used and when. We have learned a lot about what [software] teachers will and will not use. It’s all about accountability. We measure what we treasure—technology.” —Andrew Berning Ph.D., chief information and technology officer, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Carrollton, Texas


Seventh grader creates social media website for new school

Tilford said the site has helped him be more of an extrovert.

It’s become a common practice for graduates from different high schools to connect on social media websites and virtually “meet” each other before arriving at college. Now, a Kentucky seventh grader has applied that idea to his new high school as well.

Connor Tilford is connecting with his classmates in the first McCracken County High School class—and none of them are even at the school yet.

Tilford, a seventh-grader at Heath Middle School, created the site ConnectingMcCracken about a month ago and already had signed up 24 members as of press time.

So far, Tilford told The Paducah Sun, the site is mostly populated by classmates at his current school. But he’s hopeful that students from Reidland and Lone Oak middle schools will sign on soon as word of mouth attracts students.

The site is loosely structured like Facebook. Students can apply to be a part of the site, but Tilford has the final say on who is allowed on. Students keep up profiles, somewhat similar to Facebook. They also can post pictures and respond to comments.

Tilford already has started conversations about what elective classes middle school students want to take at the new high school and what they did over fall break.

Tilford said the site has helped him be more of an extrovert.

Students at the new high school likely will keep to what they know, but at some point, Tilford said, they will have to branch out. He hopes ConnectingMcCracken can be a catalyst.


Grants for grades 6-8 math teachers

The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for teachers seeking to improve their understanding of mathematics by completing course work in mathematics content. For 2012–2013, grants with a maximum of $6,000 each will be awarded to persons currently teaching at the grades 6-8 level.


$750 grants to improve playspaces

The Let’s Play Spruce grants are designed to reward communities that have maintained and “spruced” their playspaces since their playground build. Through this application, communities must demonstrate that they have maintained their playspace and they have led an improvement project in the last 60 days. Communities that demonstrate this will receive a $750 gift card to further enhance or improve their playspace.