Thursday, April 05, 2007

NSBA National Conference

The 2007 National School Board Association Conference will take place in San Francisco April 12th - 17th. Many of your Board of Education members will be attending to learn from their peers, share their own successes, and get re-energized for the upcoming year. The NSBA Conference enables us to reach higher, with innovations and proven approaches to inspire student success.
The 2007 conference promises fresh perspectives with practical, applicable sessions and workshops. Not to mention the opportunity to network and share solutions with colleagues from school districts across the nation.

Please feel free to visit the site above to find out more about the conference.

Here is a list of some of the seminars I will be trying to attend and of course reporting back my findings via this site and the NSBA Blog. All topics are clickable for a brief synopsis.

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that the links below are not working. I am currently at the conference and have limited internet time. To view the program descriptions, please click on the conference link above and search the workshops. Sorry for the inconvenience.

P.S. If you know of any must see places in San Francisco, please forward :)


Heather Brooks said...

Congrats on having your name among only fifteen other contributors that I could see, anyway. KUDOS for a job well done Jennifer.

Some of your peers see the value in what you are doing. Some of us citizens do too.

Heather Brooks said...

Wow, those topics look so interesting and important too - wish I was going!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear how Dr. James Halley of North Kingstown High School is going to show people how he missappropriated 255,000 dollars in IDEA money. You really have picked a great speaker! Hopefully the Feds don't cuff and stuff him before he arrives.

Jennifer Abell said...

THat sounds very interesting but I don't have him listed as any of the presenters/speakers for the seminars I listed. Could you please let me know which seminar you are referring?

Anonymous said...

Halley’s Comments

March 30, 2007

On March 26th, 2007, the Rhode Island Department of Education, released a Draft report of a Financial and Program review of the North Kingstown School Department. The report requested a response from the School Department within thirty days. The examination covered a four year period during which more than 3.5 million dollars of IDEA funds were spent. The report states “North Kingstown did spend the majority of its IDEA funds on good and worthy programs that deserve support, and that contribute to North Kingstown’s high achievement level. However, some IDEA funds were expended inappropriately.”

The review found four main areas of concern. These were inadequate documentation of expenditures, lack of inventory control, lack of time and effort certification and $245,453 in unallowable costs. The entire report is posted on the School Department’s webpage

The School Department will respond to these areas of concern within the thirty day window. I am sure that some changes will be made in the final report.

Much has been said and written about this report that is inaccurate and inflammatory. I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight and put this issue in perspective.

SPED Performance High - Gap Between Regular Ed. Narrowing
The performance of students with special needs in North Kingstown is among the highest of all school districts in Rhode Island. While many districts are struggling to address the performance of students with special needs, North Kingstown has already successfully addressed this issue. In fact, the performance gap between students with special needs and regular education students at the high school decreased by 6.7 percentage points in English Language Arts between 2004 and 2005 and by 13.3 points in Math over the same period. By contrast, the performance gap for all students in Rhode Island remained static. This reduction in the achievement gap of these students is even more significant when one considers the high performance and increasing achievement of the students in the North Kingstown schools in general.

Integrated program of prevention successful
I believe that our investment of IDEA funding in integrated programs of prevention has been a key factor in the high achievement of our students with special needs. These programs include professional development for teachers and administrators, materials to increase the performance of all students, early intervention program, guidance services and other preventative measure that we have taken over the years. We have been able to develop a culture of high expectations with appropriate support for students with special needs that other districts are attempting to replicate. I fact, I am scheduled to make a presentation on our program at the National School Board Association annual conference. IDEA funds along with local funds were used to provide this integrated program.

The unallowable expenses identified were legitimate expenses
The expenses that the Rhode Island Department education has disallowed for inclusion in IDEA funding are all perfectly legitimate expenditures to support the education of the students of our school system. These expenditures were not only legitimate but were required in order to support the high performance of all students including students with special needs whether they were funded out of IDEA or the regular budget. Money was spent in the best way possible to benefit all students. If we are required to reimburse IDEA funding, we would propose that the reimbursement be spread over several years since the unallowable IDEA expenses were incurred over several years. The impact can also be reduced by reorganizing our delivery of services to students with special needs in order to avoid supplanting issues.

The unallowable expenses are a small proportion of the total budget
Each year North Kingstown spends over $55 million dollars providing an excellent education to all of the students in our schools. Out of this total, $11 million is spent serving students with special needs. Federal IDEA funding makes up a little less than $1 million of our budget. $245,453 is less than one half of one percent of the total budget. Divided over four years it is less than .75 percent of our spending to serve students with special needs each year.

Maintain perspective and look at the big picture
I ask that this community review the report, put it in perspective and not rush to judgment. I have been Superintendent of the District for twelve years. Over these years, our schools, our teachers, our administrations in partnership with our parents have made tremendous strides in improving student performance and in operating a school system that currently spends less than the state average at the same time that student achievement is close to the top in the state.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and our school system.

James M. Halley
Superintendent of Schools

Anonymous said...

Monday 2:00

Implement a Nationally Recognized Model

Program for Guidance to Improve the
Achievement of All Students


What are the necessary ingredients that make up
a comprehensive guidance program? Rhode
Island’s North Kingstown Public Schools (enr.
4,600) will present, in an interactive format, the
knowledge and skills necessary for a guidance
program to improve the achievement of all students.
Attend this session and receive a handout
on the national model as well as learn about specific
activities developed to demonstrate
guidance counselors accountability for improving
student achievement.
Presenters: James Halley, Superintendent, and Douglas
Roth, Chairman, North Kingstown School Committee

Anonymous said...

sorry Dr. Halley's attendance has been cancelled

Jennifer Abell said...

I don't believe I had this listed as a session I had planned on attending but I guess it's a mute point now. Thanks for the information though.