School Delegation Heading to National Convention in Boston
School Superintendent Aaron Spence, six school board members and former Superintendent Susan Purser will attend the National School Boards Association annual meeting in Boston later this week.
Moore County Schools was one of 175 entries chosen from a field of 400 to share its approach to education at the event. Members of that delegation will acquaint attendees with the Moore County Schools’ “Growing to Greatness” program during the three-day conference.
The program, developed by Purser and other board members, has become the system’s “mission, vision and set of core beliefs.” It is divided into four major “pathways” that Purser said “define the district’s pathways to greatness: learning, culture, leadership, and community.”
To learn more about the Growing to Greatness program, visit the Moore County schools website at www.ncmcs.org.
Board members will showcase each of the pathways for an audience of peers from across the nation.
“The presentation will be a full involvement experience with lots of activities,” said board member Laura Lang. “It is a huge honor for Moore County school representatives to have been invited to present our mission at this conference.”
School spokesman Tim Lussier wrote the original proposal for the annual event.
“I have been crafting this since the beginning, and it has been a real collaborative effort with the board to bring this about,” he said. “The competition to receive an invitation to make a presentation at the national conference is really stiff, and to be accepted is something very special that will definitely be good for the students of Moore County.”
Board member Bruce Cunningham will lead a workshop on the leadership pathway.
“When your school system is regarded highly enough to be asked to present what you are doing at a national conference, you accept the invitation to attend,” Cunningham said. “It will pay dividends to the county by showing that we do things a little differently and a little better. It enhances Moore County’s reputation, and it enhances the quality of education and the experience of the students.”
The group’s presentation will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Six board members will attend along with Lussier, Purser, Spence and board clerk Cathy McRae.
Purser will begin the presentation by providing information and background about the program.
“Few people have had the wonderful opportunity to have been involved in the development of a program like this,” she said. “The community is incredible and has been so generous in their support.”
Purser began in 2005 talking to the board about what they “really believe.”
“The board was still kind of new, as was I, and we were not quite ready,” she said. “In 2006 we put together our collective beliefs as an organization, it gained momentum, and then we finally had a breakthrough point when we got our core beliefs, mission, and vision in place.
“Teachers began saying ‘this makes sense,’ and we began a real shift from compliance to commitment.”
Following Purser’s introductory remarks, board members will then give individual presentations about each of the four pathways, with other members assisting the audience during work sessions designed to give session attendees “hands-on” experience with the program.
“The presentation will be an interactive experience with videos of what we’re doing in the classroom,” Lussier said. “We hope to give those in attendance as much of an understanding of the program as possible, and are taking the same approach that we do with our students: You’re not going to learn unless you are engaged in what you’re doing.”
Spence will conclude the presentation with remarks about future growth in conjunction with the program’s strategic plan.
“Dr. Spence will talk about where we go from here, about how we continue the journey,” Lussier said. “‘Growing to Greatness’ is not a document that sits on a shelf, it is a living program that will change over time. The plan will keep moving forward and will continue to grow.”
The group will leave for Boston on April 20 and return April 23.
School board attorney Ann Majestic will also attend the conference to receive a lifetime achievement award.
The 10 school officials will attend the conference at county expense, which will cost an estimated total of $1,780 per person. Funds will be drawn from an account set aside for the board members’ education and training.
“It’s built into the budget,” Lussier said. “All national conferences work this way. It brings attention to the school district, and it gives the school board members an opportunity to not only share their experience with their peers but to also learn from them.”
Lang said the amount of information to be shared and exchanged makes the conference “well worth” attending for board members.
“How can the board expect teachers, principals and staff to go through professional development if we don’t?” she said. “It’s necessary to attend functions like this in order to keep learning and to keep going forward.
“Several years ago, two board members attended a national conference, and during my first year on the board I don’t think anyone went. The second year I went to Chicago but didn’t ask for reimbursement. We have been very cautious with the public’s money.”
Contact John Lentz at email@example.com.
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