Tom Smith, the VASS Legislative Liaison, is providing regular updates from the Winter 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Please click on the Headline or on the "Advocacy" tab for links to Dr. Smith's updates
After undergoing careful review and revision by superintendents and other education leaders in Virginia, "The New Blueprint for the Future of Public Education" was officially released to the public by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Making the announcement was Dr. Ben Kiser, the Executive Director of the organization. Dr. Kiser, joined by Associate Executive Director Andy Stamp and Legislative Liaison Tom Smith, discussed other policy issues as well at the broad-ranging press conference.Click on the links to the right to read the Blueprint and the Blueprint Executive Summary. Links to other news from the press conference are also to the right.
Education First invites you to join a small group of colleagues for a unique educational tour that combines an in-depth look at the Finnish and Swiss models of education with numerous opportunities to enjoy and learn more about the culture and history of the two nations. The program runs from June 21 - June 29, 2015. The standard program fee of $4,500 will be discounted to $3,950 if you sign up by February 21. The registration deadline is February 28. Click on the Headline for more information.
Dr. Patrick Murphy, the Superintendent of Arlington County Schools, has been selected by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) as a finalist for the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year Award. Dr. Murphy will be interviewed for the national title and the winner will be announced at the AASA Annual Convention in San Diego on February 27. Dr. Murphy was named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) Annual Awards Banquet last spring in Roanoke. VASS and all its division members congratulate Dr. Murphy on his selection as a finalist . . . and for his great work through the years for public education in Virginia. Click on the Headline to read more about Dr. Murphy.
VASS is helping Virginia educators face the challenge of creating authentic assessments for their students and their division by sponsoring two workshops this winter on Performance Based Assessments. Presented by Dan Mulligan (February 12) and Jay McTighe (March 5)—nationally recognized educators with strong ties to Virginia education—these workshops will provide Instructional Leaders, Division Administrators, and Classroom Teachers with a wealth of ideas and resources for creating high-quality, authentic assessments and evaluating student performance by using realistic and practical rubrics for scoring results. Registration fees for both of these Professional Development Workshops can be paid with Local Alternative Assessment Grant money from the Virginia Department of Education. Read below or click on the workshop links to your right for more information.
Come in out of the winter cold for Dr. Dan Mulligan’s action-packed, hands-on presentation for teachers in all subject areas (grades 3 – 8), instructional leaders, and administrators: “Designing Performance-Based Assessments to Meet the New State Guidelines.” The February 12 workshop will feature an in-depth evaluation of current research into performance-based assessments as well as practical activities designed to involve you and your workshop colleagues in reviewing and rating a wealth of different assessment strategies and rubrics. The day will be punctuated by the development of concrete ideas for implementing performance-based assessments that are grounded in the Virginia SOLs. Click on the Headline or the link to your right for more information.
How do we truly prepare students for colleges and careers? How do we equip today’s learners for a rapidly changing world where information is accessible on a smart phone? How do we engage kids in learning the Standards in meaningful ways? Jay McTighe believes that practicing for multiple-choice tests is not the answer to these questions. In his many books, articles, and workshops, Jay has shared practical and proven ideas, examples, and resources for constructing a curriculum that answers an essential question: How can we build a robust assessment system around rich performance tasks that call for learners to apply their learning of content to authentic situations? Drawing on his deeply varied career, Jay speaks what he believes, offering a dynamic and compelling presentation on authentic performance tasks. If you are a Curriculum Specialist, Division Leader, or Classroom Teacher, you will not want to miss this workshop. Click on the Headline or the link to your right for more information.
Speaking on behalf of the Virginia Assessment and Accountability Roundtable, David Ellena, the principal at Tomahawk Middle School and the president of VASSP, told the SOL Innovation Committee that the Roundtable was supportive of all of committee’s recommendations for education reform in Virginia—but that in addition, the Roundtable recommended eliminating all compulsory SOL assessments not mandated by federal law. Click on the Headline for more.
Drawing on both his personal experience in public school environments and VASS’s official position on the issue, Tom Smith supported the VASS/VSBA letter about the Study of Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools in response to the Commission’s request for public comment. Click on the Headline for more.
If you are a superintendent looking for new insights into how best to implement digital learning in your division, you will want to take a hard look at "Future Ready District Pledge," a new program from the U.S. Department of Education. The program seeks to encourage and support superintendents who commit to taking a leadership role in digital learning and wish to share their best practices with colleagues across the country. Click on the Headline for more information.