Friday, July 29, 2011

Reboot! Teaching Transformed

Thursday was the beginning of the 2011 National Board Conference “Reboot! Teaching Transformed,” and so far it has lived up to the theme.

Governor Bob Wise, current president of NBPTS, kicked off the conference by outlining changes we will be seeing on the national level within the year.  The new NBPTS theme will be “Grow Great Schools.” More info will be available at by the end of December.

Governor Wise emphasized that as America’s partner in education, NBPTS will continue to:
·      Advance Student Learning and Achievement
·      Support Excellence in Teaching
·      Engage Leaders
·      Transform Education School by School

Next, we had the pleasure of listening to and engaging with Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, and Drive.  Mr. Pink pointed out that many experiments over the past fifty years have shown that motivation and positive behavior do not usually increase with rewards.  He explained that the theory worked well in the 19th and 20th centuries, but not at all in the 21st.  Research indicates that time after time, when teachers are to receive a reward for an increase in their students’ test scores, those scores do not rise.

One of the exciting takeaways was to learn about schools that have one day when students can work on any project they choose. Mr. Pink called these “FedEx Days.” Read this blog post to see how one school executed this exciting concept: He concluded that in order to achieve enduring motivation, people need autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  You can watch a nine-minute video that captures the essence of Daniel Pink ideas at

Julie Ramsay and I then headed to the Network Affiliates presentations.  The AL NBCT Network table was filled with resources and occupied a prime location at the front of the room.  We emphasized our annual conferences and social networking and the many free resources available to anyone who visits our website.  I also had the opportunity to talk with other affiliate leaders and develop a great list of wonderful ideas we may want to incorporate.  Julie and Mary also presented information about how to be involved with the Second Life NBCT Network.

Finally we all had the unique opportunity to hear Diane Ravitch.  She is truly remarkable and, as Julie tweeted, a champion for teachers.  In her opinion, No Child Left Behind is a ticking bomb that will destroy public education.  She also believes that the current Race to the Top is no better.  Using numerous examples, Dr. Ravitch argued that teachers should never be evaluated by students’ standardized test scores. She further emphasized that politicians should not be involved in education.  In closing, she issued this imperative—all teachers need to be active in order for “the beatings” to stop and to enable educators the opportunity to make vital decisions for the profession.

The conference continues on Friday. We look forward to being able to share what we are learning with all of you. Watch our Alabama NBCT Facebook page and our Twitter feed for updates throughout the day.

~Nancy Turpen


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hill Day 2011

Today, Donna Ross and I represented Alabama NBCTs in DC by visiting 8 of Alabama's legislators (the 9th received a packet of information but was unable to meet). Later in the afternoon we were joined by five additional Alabama NBCTs. We stressed the power of National Boards Certification in empowering teachers to reach each individual student  which in turn directly impacts and reforms education in each of our classrooms. Then we showed them the evidence of how a NBCT is better equipped to meet the needs of his/her students even in high risk schools. We requested that they each continue to support ESEA which continues to fund NBPTS with 1% of those funds.

We were met with a wide variety of responses. Our meeting with Congresswoman Terri Sewell's staff, Spencer Bachus' staff,  and Jeff Session's staff went exceedingly well. They were very interested in what we had to say; they listened; they asked questions. We were able to briefly speak with Representative Bachus who was very interested in what we had to say.

When we walked into Representative Martha Roby's office, she was just returning from picking up her daughter from camp. She and her legislative assistant took the time (40 minutes) to meet with us and discuss education. She is a freshman on the Hill and on the Education and Workforce Committee. She has a hearing tomorrow and asked us a lot of questions about education and the National Boards process.

Overall it was an amazing day. We were very appreciative of everyone taking the time to meet with us. I feel like everyone listened to what we had to say and I hope that today, we made a difference for the children of Alabama.

~Julie D. Ramsay
(Special thanks to Gene Ramsay for taking all of these photos during Hill Day.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Does Being an NBCT Mean to You?

In two weeks, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Conference will begin. With school and personal budgets being what they are now, many NBCTs are unable to travel to Washington D.C. to attend in person. However, NBPTS is providing some ways that you can still contribute and participate from the comfort of your own home.

One is by creating a video of what being an NBCT means to you. They are going to be running these videos at the conference.  Some things that you might want to consider is how it changed your teaching, how it impacted the way you positively reach your students, or how it changed your passion for teaching. It doesn't have to be a professional video just one that shares your thoughts on being an NBCT.

The videos need to be between 15 seconds and 2 minutes long. You can upload them to . More information can be found here:What being an NBCT means to you.

Another way that you can participate is through their virtual conference.The website states: The Virtual Conference offers all seven general sessions, two concurrent sessions to choose from during each of the concurrent session time slots through lunch on Saturday, and pre-recorded video and professional development to watch at your leisure.You can find the schedule and details at the virtual conference link above.

We hope that you will be able to participate in some capacity. Stay tuned for more updates and professional development.

Until then...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Supporting Learning with Technology

As the summer is upon us, most of us are finding ways to grow as educators and better meet the needs of each of our students. Many people set goals to evolve our teaching practice with the support of digital literacies with our learners. It can be overwhelming to know where to begin. The following podcast, created by one of our members, Julie D. Ramsay, gives advice on how to support learning with technology.