AASA Digital Consortium Visits Ephrata Area (PA) Schools

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AASA Digital Consortium Visits Ephrata Area (PA) Schools

Ready! Better yet, be Life Ready like students in the Ephrata Area (Pa.) School District. Educational leaders from across the country recently gathered there to participate in the AASA Digital Consortium’s first meeting of the year. 

The future of public education was on display as Superintendent Brian Troop showcased the transformational work taking place in his district. During our time together, we focused on personalization, flexible experiences for students, Maker Learning, a Life Ready Graduate and community partnerships.

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Take a moment to visit the Ephrata Area School District website and checkout the Life Ready Graduate community and district model. The integration of the technology is a model we need to highlight across this country. However, the reflection I want to share in this blog entry is the leadership growth I gained by participating in the AASA Digital Consortium and learning from Dr. Troop.

We can all agree we are passionate about improving how we operate as leaders for the sake of our students. This experience was especially rewarding for me because Kee Edwards, principal at Miller Ridge Elementary in Middletown City School District, attended the conference with me. We are two instructional leaders hungry for knowledge and growth around the goals set in our district.

The AASA Digital Consortium provided me the opportunity to offer authentic professional learning for a leader in my district. During building visits, Mr. Edwards and I discussed how we can better engage our community, empower students in their learning, inspire educators in our district to embrace transformation efforts, and find approaches to integrate technology effectively.

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We could have accomplished this by sitting in his office easily, but imagine the depth of our conversations as we observed Dr. Troop and his Ephrata leadership team highlighting the revolutionary work taking place in their schools. The value add in this example is the access to other digital thought leaders from across the country. For example, during the visit to the Franklin Institute, Mr. Edwards engaged in deep dialogue around Understanding Brain Theory and Learning with Nick Polyak and Brian Troop. (Nick Polyak, superintendent of Leyden High School District 212 in Illinois, serves as chair of the Digital Consortium.)

What do you do when a leader looks at you and says, “I want to grow more in these areas.” Would you stand by him or her? If we truly value supporting the growth of our leaders, I encourage my peers to stand, quite literally, side by side those we are challenging to grow. This cannot be done by sending someone to a conference. I’m talking about attending the professional learning opportunity with your growing leader and having deep dialogue and challenging thoughts about their approach to being an elite leader.

The AASA Digital Consortium encourages participants to bring members from our districts to attend consortium meetings. How could you take advantage of that in your district? Think about it.

In Ephrata Area School District, the community values and endorses the Life Ready areas set as priorities for all students. Mr. Edwards and I left inspired in our leadership growth together. I’m staying committed to my belief to provide the leaders in my district with personalized professional learning as best I can.

Given we were in Philadelphia, now would be a perfect time to reference a line from Robert Tepper’s song “No Easy Way Out” where he writes “some things are worth fighting for.” Let’s make growing leaders in education worth fighting for in our districts.

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On behalf of Middletown City School District, I want to thank AASA for providing ongoing opportunities for leaders across the country to come together to grow, ultimately benefiting all students. A special thank you to the students, community, and staff of Ephrata Area School District for showcasing the wonderful possibilities in public education. As a member of the AASA Digital Consortium, I was honored to have the opportunity to celebrate what you are doing for students. Go Mounts!


Marlon Styles, Jr. is the superintendent of Middletown City (Ohio) School District.

Take Charge of Your Brand!

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UrbanBlogHeaderBy Niquelle Cotton 

There stands before our class a veteran super hero for education, Dr. Barbara Pullium! She’s an icon with accolades from organizations including but not limited to AASA, NABSE, ASCD and NSBA, and is known by many as a servant leader for public education. Dr. Pullium without fail brings our Cohort 4 of purpose-driven believers immediately to their feet, on-time, and at-the-ready to stand at attention! Dr. Pulliam is a teacher and “coach at heart” who has over four decades of K‐12 education experience. She served as superintendent of schools for seventeen years in three school districts which were in urban, suburban and rural school districts. She’s a “lifer” contributing heart-lifting contribution to the book of impact plays.

…music plays… Let’s Get it Started in Here! By the Black-Eyed Peas

Put that seatbelt back on! Round 2 of the AASA Urban Superintendent’s Academy ~ Cohort 4 is about to take things to a different level!
There were several topics shared across countertop when asked for expanding school, city, county, state, regional and country… SHIFTS that are driving today’s priorities and that demand taking charge of one's brand through a counternarrative: 

• Lack of funding for schools
• Diverse views on education
• Competition: Private/Charter/Homeschooling
• Comparison of what’s being taught in schools vs. parents’ perception
• Changes in the political agenda
• Changes in leadership / vision

What is a Counternarrative?
Before we delve into changing it… Let’s do some level setting. The formal definition for “counternarrative” is defined as follows: an argument that disputes a commonly held belief or truth. These beliefs often relate to cultures, people and even institutions.
Often, counternarratives, which can also be called counter-storytelling, will be used to give people a voice who otherwise would not have one. As a narrative outlines a widely accepted belief as the truth, a counternarrative can be used to share a different point of view that may have not otherwise been considered.
These types of narratives do not necessarily discredit the beliefs that have been established, but instead offer a different way of thinking about particular topics. Authors of counternarratives will include other elements to support their position, such as videos and images. https://www.reference.com/art-literature/counternarrative-bac2eed0be17f281

Tag… We’re IT!!

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Tag… We’re IT!!

By UrbanBlogHeaderNiquelle L. Cotton

It’s a rainy start to our AASA Urban Superintendent’s Academy for Cohort 4… Day One Do-over! We soon learn that our class is the first in 4-year cohort history to postpone class… Why? A hurricane threat, thankfully with minimal damage, thwarted a timely Session-1 kickoff… a sign that our class would be like no other! I look around the room hearing each person’s purpose statement when asked… Why are you here?! I realize history is about to take place. This cohort is packed with the most talented, diverse people that will become our future advocates, thought-leaders, and torch-blazers using intellect, data, and passion for underserved student populations. We will be adding to this current history chapter.

Reality sets in and momentum continues to rise when Dr. Sam King (Steering Committee Member at the national level for the AASA Urban Superintendents Academy in partnership with Howard University), begins with a moment of silence honoring the recent hate-crime in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh Schools’ very own Assistant Superintendent is cohort 4 member, Mr. Anthony Anderson, who provides somber highlights and then the tone changes… There’s an eerie hush when the class realizes the country as we know it has made yet another shift. Our patriarchs and matriarchs… our legacy makers, are preparing an infusion of knowledge impact. Dr. Bernadine Futrell, Director of Leadership Services, for AASA lets us know… we will make lifelong friends and colleagues relying on each other for support, and further conveys… this is a safe space for preparation. If not now… when?? Tag… We’re IT!!

Key themes surface once our AASA Urban Superintendent’s Academy “godfather and co-patriarch” Dr. Joe Hairston, former Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, is honored. He shares with conviction the sense of urgency. Academy Co-founder and passionate leader, Dr. Mort Sherman, AASA Associate Executive Director, Leadership Services, would echo sentiments and mandate we must continue to be “just in time” connectors and bridge proven concepts with reality. We clearly begin to see the delicate dance between data (history) and purpose.

The day continues… We are further reminded by Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Superintendent of Clayton County, GA & AASA –Howard Urban Superintendents Academy Cohort 3 Alumni that these shifts taking place will test the guiding principles of educators, and most assuredly those in urban district settings.

• Regardless of position, how will we make decisions that impact all children?
• How will we make sure our 3rd graders are prepared for higher levels of rigor and ensure our Gifted and Talented students are constantly being challenged?
• And how will we (for those educators steeped in the weeds…) ensure we have the board behind us?

Great educators reinforce a growth mindset in students and staff

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UrbanBlogHeader John Brown, Researcher in Residence, AASA

On a bright Sunday morning and the second day of the workshop, the 36 participants in the latest AASA Urban Superintendents Academy assembled for a moving presentation by award-winning superintendent, Dr. Deborah Wortham—currently the turn-around leader of East Ramapo Central School District, New York. Like yesterday’s sessions, Dr. Wortham reinforced the power of service-oriented and mission-driven educational leadership. She formed an instant rapport with the group—and used a range of presentation strategies and media to engage them and provoke both deep reflection and a sense of possibility for the future.

I had seen Dr. Wortham in action previously in her role as a transformational superintendent in Pennsylvania. She continues to amaze me with her charisma, dedication, and commitment to the future of the students she serves as the leader of her district. Her presentation, “Critical Issues in Education Facing the Modern Superintendent,” reinforced a powerful recurrent idea underlying the academy: The superintendent today—especially in urban settings—is participating in what Joseph Campbell called a “hero’s journey.” Every urban superintendent, Dr. Wortham reinforced, is responsible for the lives, well-being, and prosperity of the learners served by his or her district. In spite of what can appear to be sometimes overwhelming challenges, the heroic superintendent leads staff, parents, community members, and—most importantly—students toward a process of transformation, leading them to a better future and society to a greater level of both civility and achievement.

I was deeply moved by Dr. Wortham’s personal reflections, honesty, and support for the participants, encouraging them to consider such questions as: (1) Who have you blessed along the way of your own journey? (2) What is the “20%” difference you will make in your school or district? (reinforcing the range of variation that is possible within school and district structures) and (3) How many “firsts” can you put your shingle on? As a renowned and award-winning educational leader, Dr. Wortham also reinforced the difference between a transformational leader (“I am called to bring it up—Someone else is called to take it forward…”) and one who can sustain the momentum triggered by transformational change.

A few highlights of Dr. Wortham’s presentation that have stayed with me: (1) Great educators reinforce a growth mindset in students and staff. (2) The mission statement of a learning organization must be a living, breathing, and organic document—that is revisited continually as we reflect on our purpose, our goals, and the ways in which were are monitoring our progress toward achieving them. (3) Great professional development can only occur after students have been brought into understanding and “owning” the mission and vision of their school and district; once the superintendent engages their commitment and sense of efficacy, professional development priorities and performance targets can follow. (4) Learning walks can be a useful tool for providing supportive feedback to staff about how PD targets and strategies are being implemented—including areas for enhancement and growth. (5) Perhaps most significantly, Dr. Wortham presented a 5/20/80 rule: Educational leaders should be in at least five classrooms per day, 20 per week, and 80 per month. Interactions with staff and students at the school level are critically important for transformation to occur and be sustained.

I’ll close with two quotes from Dr. Wortham that I found especially moving: (1) “Love, relationships, caring, and concerns are essential in any effective school.” (2) “It is the non-cognitive elements of schooling that must be addressed first—and continuously…Students’ social-emotional learning is a priority before the cognitive-academic can truly be transformed…” Dr. Wortham embodied in her presentation—and continues to demonstrate in her career—her assertion that the “work of educators is deeply meaningful—We must believe in ourselves and our students—and our shared capacity to succeed.”

The Future Is Now: Participants Assemble for the Latest AASA Urban Superintendent Academy

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UrbanBlogHeaderJohn Brown, Researcher in Residence, AASA

I feel as if I saw the future today. Future superintendents who will be soon be leading urban districts throughout the United States met for the latest AASA Urban Superintendents Academy. One of the largest cohorts ever, the group included CAOs, human resource officers, assistant superintendents, and equity officers. These dedicated and inspiring educational leaders all shared their aspirations for preparing our increasingly diverse student populations for the future—as citizens, as life-long learners, and as successful professionals in our Information Age economy. In addition to the values and deep commitment demonstrated by each of the participants, what was most striking to me were the connections being made between senior leaders serving as mentors and presenters and the future superintendents they are deeply committed to preparing for success. It was a legacy day—a clear passing of a very important torch symbolizing the power of service-oriented leadership, networking, critical friends, and building and sustaining true professional learning communities.

“Our students can’t wait,” one powerful speaker asserted. He challenged participants, asking them to “continue to impact others—and ‘be the change I want to be in the world.’” Another guest presenter encouraged participants to “identify and outline an improvement framework to address achievement gaps.” He encouraged academy members to consider the purpose of schools in the 21st century, explore the powerful shifts in our country that speak to the urgency of education today, and what they will do to ensure that their students are not members of what has been called by sociologist Yuval Harari “the useless class.”

All of the speakers reinforced the powerful impact of demographic changes, including the growing presence and influence of Black and Latino students, parents, and community members. As several speakers confirmed, our economic and social survival—and prosperity—truly do require that all students succeed; this is not mere rhetoric—It is clearly a moral imperative. The future presented by today’s speakers also requires educators to address the social-emotional needs of our students, our parents, and our staff. Increasingly, mental health is not an issue limited to a few but a priority for many. It became evident to all of us that traditional approaches to teaching and learning are no longer viable; all of our students must be equipped with the skills of critical thinking, creative expression, communication, and collaboration.

The presentations—and the powerful discussions and debates that extended from them—reinforced the importance that superintendents today—as well as all educational leaders—understand that we are in the midst of a “diversity explosion.” “We must build partnerships to help our students navigate life” became a powerful and recurrent theme throughout the morning’s sessions. Finally, the future requires that we reframe our previous thinking and antiquated notions about what works in schools. A commitment to “vertical equity” for all students requires us to assume a social justice perspective to ensure equality of outcomes. It was especially clear that successful urban leaders today are using a range of data to monitor what one speaker called “equity variables (including viable teacher salaries, reasonable class sizes, and highly qualified teachers),” ensuring that an even playing field is accessible to everyone.

Participants will demonstrate their growing experience, leadership skills, and creative insights through collaborative “Capstone Projects” and white papers, sharing solutions to actual problems of practice in their current districts and learning organizations. Based on today’s beginning session, the future looks bright from the vantage point of our future superintendents—and how AASA leaders and mentors are collaborating to support the next generation of district leaders.

Conference Kick Off! Urban School Superintendents Conference, Keynote Address

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Watch the 2018 Urban School Superintendents Conference

AASA, the School Superintendents Association and Howard University hosted a panel discussion on challenges faced by urban school superintendents. It was part of AASA’s annual conference for the urban administrators, and they discussed topics including public school funding, ways to reach out to parents and how to best engage the community with the school. Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent of the Dallas, Texas, Independent School District, delivered the keynote address at a conference of urban school superintendents. He talked about his career and early life.


Deputy Secretary of Education to Personalized Learning Cohort: ‘Your Efforts Will Make a Difference’

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personalized fall 18-1The 2018 fall meeting of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort is convening in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Dysart Unified School District. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais served as keynote speaker during last night’s opening session, held at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel, and it was apparent that he supports personalized learning and its impact on students.

“I’m grateful of what you’re doing to improve personalized learning opportunities for the students within your districts and to provide freedom for teachers to be creative and innovative in their classrooms,” the Secretary told the cohort. “Your efforts will make a difference.”

“That’s exactly what this group is all about,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, immediately following the Secretary’s remarks.

Gail Pletnick, immediate past president of AASA, recently retired as superintendent of Dysart Schools, host site for the fall meeting. Today, superintendents and other administrators are visiting schools in the district to get a firsthand look at personalized learning in action.

personalized fall 18-2“We really appreciate the opportunity to host this meeting,” said Pletnick who serves as co-chair of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort. “To me, this mission is about equity. If we can create that student-centered environment, then we’re going to reach every single child.”

“Personalized learning is the essence of creativity and innovation for kids,” said Valerie Truesdale, associate superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C., and co-chair of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort. “I thank members of this cohort for pushing each other so we can transform America’s classrooms and reach the needs of every learner.”

“[Personalized Learning] is not hypothesis anymore. It’s not theory anymore. It’s real and it’s happening,” said Domenech. “Personalized learning is playing a critical role to provide each child the education that is appropriate for that child. That’s equity.”

Objectives of the three-day meeting include:

  • Define the critical elements of personalized learning;
  • Identify specific focus areas of interest for personalized learning to support the work of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort and members’ districts;
  • Develop plans to support each other and participants’ districts in the work to personalize learning.

personalized fall 18-3“Personalized learning is not the same everywhere,” said Chris Gaines, president of AASA and superintendent of Missouri’s Mehlville School District. “When we see it in action, we can ask ourselves, ‘How can I make this work in my district or in a school in my district? How can we bring it to scale across my district so every student has [personalized learning] opportunities?’”

On Thursday, the cohort will travel to Dysart’s Shadow Ridge High School and have the ability to see key aspects of what personalized learning entails, including learning spaces, architecture and engineering.

“Students need learning environments that are flexible, relevant and exciting,” said Secretary Zais. “Each student has different interests, different abilities and different aspirations. This is not a partisan view.”

“Across the country, districts are finding ways to get parents and students the freedom to chart their own futures and pursue their own dreams, not somebody else’s dreams. No stigma should stand in the way of a student’s pursuit of fulfilling a career and meaningful life,” he added.

To learn more about the program, visit the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort web page, which includes AASA’s recently produced case studies featuring several members of the cohort. Superintendents and other school system leaders can also contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, leadership services, at msherman@aasa.org or Debbie Magee, program manager, at dmagee@aasa.org.

To join the conversation via Twitter, access the hashtags #LearnPLinAction and #AASAPersonalizedLrng

Student's View: Final Blog Post

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Student's View: Final Blog Post

By Tatiana Le, student intern, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Final Photo with InternI am tremendously grateful for the time I’ve spent as an intern here at AASA, The School Superintendents Association. It was my first internship ever, so maybe I’m not in the best position to say this, but I found this experience extremely valuable to my academic and budding professional career.

First off, I learned much more than I expected to learn. I think that every student—at some point or another—subscribes to the fear that early internships are nothing but pits of busywork and coffee-making. While I didn’t take those fears face-value, I did expect more grunt work than I got.

Jay Goldman, editor of School Administrator and one of my supervisors, made sure I got experience reading, writing and editing different parts of AASA’s print and online publications, as well as a few other popular education magazines. I’ve had the chance to proofread features, help select covers and visit all the different departments of AASA.

Gayane Minasyan, director of online technologies and my other supervisor, had me writing this blog, handling social media and learning the web content management system. I sat in on webinars, designed toolkits and graphics, wrote mobile app alerts, conducted interviews and more. I never wore just one hat here at AASA, which I suppose is how most everyone at AASA works. It’s a small community of people juggling an abundance of different tasks.

Second, I can’t claim that the internship did an upheaval of my previous life decisions and goals, but my exposure to so many new people in different positions made me consider my options more. I still want to teach, but I’ve realized that I have to start thinking more than just one step ahead.

There’s no guarantee I’ll want to teach forever, and even otherwise, this adventure has taught me the importance of diversifying your interests and trying new things. My time at college isn’t preparing me for a life-long career at 19, it’s teaching me the tools to eventually find one. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I actually never considered the superintendency as a logical end point to my career path as a teacher but guess that’s what internships are for. I have to get out into the world and see what other people are doing out of college to know what’s possible for me.

I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met at AASA for giving up some of their time to share their insight and advice with me. Some big highlights were my discussions with Kayla Jackson and Rebecca Shaw, project director and coordinator of Children’s Initiatives and Program Development, and Vera Turner, project manager of Leadership Services. That’s not to mention the people who guided me through tasks like Liz Griffin, managing editor of School Administrator, Juli Doshan, senior editorial assistant, and Deanna Atkins, digital content manager. I’ve been to networking events at college before, but it feels so much more organic to have a conversation with someone who works in the same building as you. Many of the college students I know, including myself, are terrified of networking. Networking didn’t feel like a conversation until this internship. I hope that I get more and more comfortable talking to adults as my career continues.

I also hope that my successor and any other intern looking for some reflection space keeps a blog too. I’m truly glad that my supervisor put me up to it. The writing process has given me time to sit down and process why I’m really here interning for the summer rather than working a diner job to pay for textbooks or spending three weeks at the beach. I can confidently say that I made the right choice.

Student’s View: 2018 Legislative Advocacy Conference

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Student’s View: 2018 Legislative Advocacy Conference

By Tatiana Le, student intern, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Leaders MatterI have officially attended my first AASA Legislative Advocacy Conference; what an exciting introduction to the world of Capitol Hill!

As an intern at AASA, The School Superintendent’s Association, I had the opportunity to attend the first two days of this year’s Legislative Advocacy Conference. There, AASA finally launched the Leaders Matter Campaign that I had been hearing about for so long (http://aasacentral.org/leadersmatter/). The campaign is focused on showcasing superintendent leadership and its effects on schools and students. From what I garnered listening to superintendents speak, I can tell there’s a lot of leadership to show off.

On the first day of the conference, I sat in on the panel sessions. The most interesting was the session titled Higher Education Act and Teacher Shortage with Joni Booth, senior client development consultant, Gallup, Tamara Hiller, deputy director of education, Third Way, and Stephen Kostyo, policy advisor, Learning Policy Institute. I remember losing the entire Spanish department junior year at my high school, but I didn’t anticipate seeing almost every superintendent’s hand go up when asked if they were experiencing teacher shortages. As someone so excited to teach after college, it is disheartening to hear that 69 percent of teachers are not engaged in their job and 73 percent of actively disengaged teachers are looking for a new job.

The panelists noted a handful of reasons I expected to see teachers cite for leaving like pay, career advancement and fit. However, I didn’t expect to hear a reason that has already impacted me: licensure.

I live in Virginia but go to college in Pennsylvania, and so because licensure varies by state, I had to redo my fingerprints and background checks for permission to teach in classroom fieldwork. As a low-income student, I wasted precious time and money in this process.

Women in School Leadership CollageOne of the solutions the panelists suggested was a Common Application for Teacher Licensure. Knowing how popular the college Common App is, the idea is intriguing. It’s a concept I’m taking with me for further research and deliberation with my peers. The presentation slides for all the panel sessions can be found at http://aasa.org/policy-blogs.aspx?id=42723&blogid=84002

On the second day of the conference, I spent some time with Vera Turner, project manager, education and communications at AASA. She was working on taping interviews for the Women in School Leadership Video Series. I got to see women superintendents like Debbi Burdick, Cave Creek Unified School District, Gail Pletnick, Dysart Unified School District, and Traci Davis, Washoe County School District, speak about their leadership experiences.

Every woman had a very different story to tell, but similar key takeaways. Each superintendent mentioned communication and relationship building as keys to their success. Some of the women have been superintendents over 18 years and still accredit their ability to succeed to the support systems they were introduced to by their mentors and women role models. They talked about coming into the position ready to face off against the world and instead found strength in the ability to step back and ask for help.

It was amazing to hear about the journeys these women have had to the superintendency; I never realized how many people become superintendents by circumstance rather than by intention. As inspiring as the interviews were, the videos won’t be released for another couple of months, so I don’t want to prematurely spoil anything. I look forward to seeing the results, which will be available at http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=39412

So as overwhelming as it was to be barraged by a ballroom full of new faces, I’m really honored I got the opportunity to attend the conference. Listening to President Chris Gaines’ address during the installment reminded me just how much time and effort every member puts into AASA, whether as a member of the governing board, executive committee or as president of the organization. According to him, if the officials on Capitol Hill think that school classrooms are just filled with students sitting at desks in rows, it is the fault of the superintendents for not educating their Representatives and inviting them into their schools. It was incredible to listen to him call everyone to action.

This conference was my first glimpse into the types of events organizations like AASA hold. It also opened my eyes to the level of awareness and sense of responsibility educators take on when representing their districts to their government officials.



Student's View: Top Five Reasons to Join AASA, The School Superintendents Association

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Student's View: Top Five Reasons to Join AASA, The School Superintendents Association

By Tatiana Le, student intern, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

 Membership Brochure

 In my quest to unravel the mysteries of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, I found an opportunity to interview C.J. Reid, associate executive director, governance, membership & affiliate services.

What I learned about AASA membership from C.J. wasn’t what I expected. There aren’t five amazing reasons I can list that will convince any school administrator to join AASA, there are over 20,000 reasons: one slightly different, personal reason for each individual member. C.J. summarized the situation succinctly, “There is no one silver bullet to membership.”  

As such, I’m going to attempt to come up with my five bronze bullets to consider when debating whether to become an AASA member. 

1. Legal support program

Insurance, as C.J. put it, “is important, but not sexy.” Insurance is one of those things that most people hope never to use, but they sleep better at night knowing it’s there anyway.

I know as well as the next person how necessary that security can be. Life likes to hit us all with a little rain now and then. Through the legal support program, AASA is providing its members up to $20,000 in legal support now, up from $10,000 last year.  

2. Advocacy

As a national association, AASA can advocate for school leaders in ways that state associations logistically can’t. From preserving Medicaid spending in schools to ensuring that low-income students are able to eat breakfast, AASA does its best to represent the interests of school leaders trying to help their students on Capitol Hill and in the White House. That means constantly listening to members online, in person or through the governing board and executive committee. AASA represents its members to the government, not the other way around.

3. Networking

There is only one superintendent in a school district; sometimes, superintendents are spread over multiple districts. AASA’s national network of superintendents gives school leaders the ability to connect and collaborate with people facing similar problems across the country. The support of a community can have astronomical effects on district confidence and success. C.J. is convinced that AASA’s National Conference on Education could be “a room full of chairs and the superintendents would all be content to talk to each other for three hours.”

4. Professional development

AASA hosts an ever-growing collection of programs, cohorts, consortia and academies to help school administrators lead and support their respective schools. Twenty percent of AASA members retire every year, which means that school administrators need to be prepared for a variety of environments, challenges and positions. Whether that means taking advantage of the Urban Superintendent’s Academy or The Rural School and Community Trust, AASA does its best to provide opportunities for its members to grow. 

5. School Administrator (and other resources)

School Administrator, AASA’s award-winning monthly magazine full of insight from school administrators and other professionals in the field, is physically sent to every member every month.

Additionally, members receive two electronic newsletters, all AASA toolkits, access to the resource library and discounts for all AASA books. AASA ensures that all members stay as updated and prepared as possible. If that means having a 24-hour hotline as part of the School Safety & Crisis Planning toolkit, AASA makes it happen. 


Learn more about AASA at aasa.org and if you like what you see, join at aasa.org/join or call 703-875-0748.