Scotland County Board of Education Chairman Charles Brown says that his experience at the National School Boards Association annual conference last week was both worthwhile and educational.
Brown attended the conference, held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. from April 12-14, with board member Jimmy Bennett and Superintendent Rick Stout.
The event was structured into breakout sessions, with attendees selecting the sessions of their choice, which ranged from administrative issues to developments in curriculum.
“In some cases there were superintendents of a school system who had been asked by the NSBA planning group to present on various topics having to do with schools and dealing with various situations and problems that arise in education administration,” Brown said. “It also dealt with exceptional children, their needs and requirements and the focus in how they are being educated in urban areas or rural areas, and the latest things coming down from the government in terms of addressing their needs.”
The conference’s featured speakers included astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, actress Geena Davis, and New York University research professor of education Diane Ravitch. Representatives from many of the country’s 12,000 school boards attended, and Brown said that the greatest value of the convention was the opportunity to share ideas and strategies with peers that board members would never otherwise meet.
“One of the assets about the national school board meetings is it reminds me of a college education,” said Brown. “A lot of your education comes from your peers, from students that you meet from various areas. I met board members from Ohio, Michigan, Texas, California, and sharing with people like that is always educational.”
This year’s conference was themed “Take the Leap,” with a major emphasis on expanding cooperation between school boards and administration, which Brown said is an important lesson for the Scotland County Board of Education.
“I want our board to continue to work together on issues and not to have individual agendas,” said Brown. “We need to have an open-minded team approach to working on issues that come up in the Scotland County school system.”
Though a complete financial breakdown will not be available until the board’s May meeting, a current report shows a $755 registration fee for Jimmy Bennett, with $457.60 each for airline tickets for Brown and board member Darrel Gibson. Gibson, who was not able to attend, will be required to reimburse the board for that expense.
Brown and Bennett have also reported $232 and $252 respectively in travel expenses for April.
Messages left for Stout and Bennett were not returned by presstime.