FBISD Board President Jim Rice attends program on community engagement

FBISD Board President Jim Rice

FBISD Board President Jim Rice

Jim Rice, Fort Bend ISD Board President, was among a group of school board members gathering in Corpus Christi, February 27-March 1, to learn the latest on 21st century challenges to leadership and the implications of those trends for educators. Session theme for this, the third of five training sessions of Leadership TASB (LTASB), was “Where Leadership Happens through Community Engagement.”

Trustees began activities Thursday with keynote speaker Randolph Carter, director of the Eastern Educational Resource Collaborative in Washington, D.C. Carter’s remarks, “Raising Resilient Children in a Changing World,” challenged the trustees with national research and encouraged them to see today’s public school classroom as a kaleidoscope of differences. The LTASB class also toured the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend. The unique cooperative among local school districts offers a variety of on-campus and on-the-job training opportunities (apprenticeships) through which students can earn their National Center for Construction Education and Research certifications. The LTASB class ended the first day of the session with remarks from internationally known scholar and author Yong Zhao. His work focuses on the implications of globalization and technology on education. From there he has helped in the development of schools that foster global competence and maximize innovation as models in K-12 education.

Friday’s LTASB session began with a tour of Branch Academy, Corpus Christi ISD’s newest high school. Branch Academy, in partnership with Del Mar College, is designed for students seeking career certification pathways. The high school design simulates a workplace setting where students are “hired” for each academic quarter.

Activities ended Saturday with a presentation by Joan Wodiska, vice-president and chief leadership officer of the American Council on Education. Wodiska, a former school board member from Falls Church, Virginia, spoke to the trustees about national economic policies and their impact on public education. Calling it the new normal, Wodiska urged these leaders to act on behalf of their communities and advocate on the national level.

Selected by TASB, the group of 31 trustees is participating in a yearlong education leadership study program. The LTASB class of 2014 represents Texas school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 240 to more than 201,000, and reflects the range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate in June with a unique designation recognized by TASB. LTASB is sponsored in part by H-E-B.

Each session has a specific theme that builds on the previous session and features state and nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work on extended learning assignments between meetings throughout the year. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has almost 700 graduates to date.

TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than five million students.

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