Superintendents Convene at the White House as part of the ‘Week of Making’

Maker-Movement-sups.jpgSuperintendents interested in incorporating and sustaining making and innovation in their schools and districts met at the White House yesterday as part of the continuing celebration of the Maker Movement, launched last week.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, joined forces with the White House, Digital Promise and Maker Ed to identify champions who are taking steps toward incorporating or sustaining making into their schools and districts.

"The Maker Movement is about innovation,” said Nick Polyak, superintendent of Leyden High School District 212 in Northlake, Ill. “It’s about the future of our country and the future of our world. We need creators. We need inventors.”

“If we’re not helping to create that in public education, than who else will,” added Polyak, co-moderator of #suptchat, a monthly Twitter chat that engages superintendents about critical issues in public school leadership on the first Wednesday of each month.  

“This is a career-high moment for me,” said Mike Lubelfeld, superintendent of Deerfield Public School District 109 in Deerfield, Ill. “This is part of the new transformation of education. It’s the path to personalization and hopefully the path away from the focus on accountability and standards to a focus on accountability for performance and making.”

“As superintendents, we are the stewards for our public schools. In order for us to help our teachers and students, it is important for us to be here at the nation’s capital, to be here with thought leaders and leaders of the Maker Movement so we can engage inspiring power in our local communities,” added Lubelfeld, who also co-moderates #suptchat.

Last year, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire, and issued a call to action that “every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.”

At the White House, AASA, Digital Promise and the Maker Movement convened educators from across the country to determine specific ways to support each other in fulfilling commitments or overcoming challenges when it comes to innovation.

“AASA realizes that we can reach out to 14,000 school systems and expand the opportunities for millions of children,” said Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director.

“I am so impressed that AASA is at the core of this work,” said Jere Hochman, superintendent of the Bedford Central School District, in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. and the co-chair of the AASA Collaborative. “I hope it’s a shift in the pendulum from stringent reform and accountability which has been necessary back to creativity and innovation.”

“I am humbled to be a part of this important movement,” said Darryl Adams, superintendent of the Coachella Valley Unified School District, in Thermal, Calif. “Knowing that the President is supporting this initiative (and AASA and Digital Promise), I’m very happy to represent my school district and be a part of the next steps forward.”

The Week of Making celebration runs until June 18. Participating agencies include the Department of Education, Department of Energy, National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, U.S. Navy, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, National Institutes of Health, Institute of Museum and Library Services, USDA, Veterans Affairs, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA, Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Smithsonian.

To join the conversation about the Maker Movement via Twitter, please utilize #nationofmakers and #weekofmaking.

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