Editor’s note: This February is ASCD’s inaugural Affiliate Appreciation Month. Throughout the month, we will be sharing news and success stories from our 54 affiliate organizations and providing ways to get involved. Stay tuned to @ASCD on Twitter to keep up-to-date and visit the ASCD Affiliates web page to learn more.
by Walter McKenzie
Located in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and East Asia, ASCD affiliates work collaboratively as part of the ASCD community to foster common values and goals essential to the way educators learn, teach, and lead. Affiliates influence education policy and provide a forum for the exchange of quality education practices.
Perhaps my favorite part of working with our affiliates is the way they push the envelope to innovate and create new value for educators where they live and work. Consider these examples:
Arkansas ASCD worked to have whole child legislation passed into state law. This legislation helps spur systemic collaboration and coordination within and beyond schoolhouse doors and promotes a shift from narrowly defined student achievement and traditional education reform to broader, more comprehensive efforts that recognize the crucial out-of-school factors that influence teaching and learning.
Bahamas ASCD became the first Connected Community of the new millennium to be approved as an ASCD Affiliate, receiving government recognition as an education association, working closely with the Ministry of Education, and utilizing local media to provide vision and leadership for educators of the Bahamas and the children they serve. Through an annual October conference, this burgeoning affiliate provides critical professional learning and brings together educators from across the island nation to connect and collaborate.
Colorado ASCD launched statewide gallery gatherings to meet with educators locally and learn their concerns, needs, and interests for professional learning. As a result of these events, the affiliate is now planning a leadership summit to develop teacher leaders who will build a framework for the state that aligns learning from preschool through higher education and an April 2016 summit to address the opportunities for state leadership in education as a result of the passing of ESSA.
Hawaii ASCD offers ASCD PD Online® courses to educators in the state, covering locally high-interest topics like assessment, Common Core State Standards implementation, and English language learning. The courses have been so popular that Hawaii ASCD has had to expand in order to handle the volume of teachers registering and the evaluation of teacher work at the end of each course. Working with the Hawaii Department of Education, the affiliate offers three professional development credits for successful completion of each course.
Illinois ASCD hosts an annual kindergarten conference, attracting educators from across the state and across the upper Midwest. This well-attended event with a focus on early childhood education has been one of the affiliate’s most successful perennial money-makers. This year’s conference is March 2–4, 2016.
New England affiliates piloted a new delivery of professional learning that blends virtual and face-to-face experiences. They broadcasted ASCD authors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey from their school in San Diego to interact with educators in a number of locations across the northeast. Two schools in Monterrey, Mexico, also participated from their campuses. The pioneering effort has resulted in the ASCD’s new live, networked professional learning institutes.
New Jersey ASCD convened a series of summits to bring together the state department of education, state teacher preparation programs, and educators across the K–12/postsecondary spectrum to discuss an aligning framework for thinking about the Common Core State Standards and their impact on teacher preparation programs in the state. The work has been so successful that every year the affiliate continues to facilitate the discussion and build on the progress made at each successive summit.
New York ASCD conducted a year-long study on poverty and its impact on instruction. In addition, the affiliate organized speaking engagements by Beth Lindsay Templeton, who discussed her book Understanding Poverty in the Classroom and Kathleen Budge, who discussed her book Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools, and an interactive group poverty simulation. These efforts were so successful that educators around the state requested workshops, and ASCD began a focus on poverty, which is underway in 2016.
Singapore ASCD, working closely with the Ministry of Education, offers a range of workshops and online courses tailored to the local needs and interests of educators. Bringing in world-class, internationally known trainers, speakers, and consultants to work with its membership, the affiliate is a major provider of ASCD programs, products, and services in East Asia.
Texas ASCD holds an annual Ignite conference that focuses on transforming curriculum with technology. The three-day event attracts administrators and teachers seeking to share and learn new approaches for using technology effectively to help all children succeed. This year’s event is June 13–15, 2016, in Irving Tex.
Thank you, ASCD Affiliates, for all of the ways you make a difference for educators and the children they serve! We are proud of you, and we value everything you contribute to the association.
As ASCD celebrates the success of its affiliates as a critical component of its work supporting members, please make time to take a look at your local affiliate and consider joining. Through your participation, you will contribute your voice to the most respected association of educators worldwide, and you will benefit from partnering with the most trusted provider of professional learning and resources in education. Want to learn more? Visit our ASCD Affiliates page today!
Walter McKenzie is a lifelong learner, teacher, leader, and connector. Currently the senior director of constituent services for ASCD, he served 25 years in public education as a classroom teacher, instructional technology coordinator, director of technology, and assistant superintendent for information services. He is internationally known for his work on multiple intelligences and technology and has published various books and articles on the subject. Connect with McKenzie on the ASCD EDge® social networking platform and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.