Kentucky School Advocate
By Jennifer Wohlleb
Whether they’re looking for inspiration, information or innovation, school board members can find the training they need at KSBA’s annual Summer Leadership Institute, July 10-11, in Lexington.
This year’s institute in Lexington will focus on the digital classroom and creating a culture of innovation, as well as continuing to offer training in mandatory topics.
“Based on the success of the other ‘All Together Now’ sessions we offered at earlier conferences – which includes one-hour versions of all three mandated training topics of finance, ethics and superintendent training – we’re doing that again,” said Kerri Schelling, KSBA’s director of Board Team Development. “Friday afternoon, prior to the start of the institute, we are going to have a bonus session for ‘All Together Now.’ It is included in the registration fee for Summer Leadership, so there is no additional cost to attend. In addition to making it very convenient to get the training in the mandated topics, it should open up board member schedules so that they can attend more electives during the regular agenda of the institute.”
She said board members don’t need to attend all three hours. “If you are just missing one, you can just go in for that one hour,” she said.
Attendees also will get a lesson on the digital classroom from Saturday’s keynote speaker, Dr. Justin Bathon, director of Innovative School Models at the University of Kentucky.
“There is a real focus on digitizing the classroom, so Dr. Bathon is going to help boards understand what is required from school leaders to have digital classrooms in their schools. They will learn what kinds of decisions they need to make, what things they need to consider, policies, budgeting, all the high-level items,” Schelling said. “He’s going to do that from a board member’s perspective so they can be more effective. He has a long history of working with schools on these exact issues.”
Following his keynote address, Bathon will lead a workshop called, “Technology can be tough, let’s talk about it.” Schelling said Bathon is very easy to understand, even for those less technologically savvy.
“It’s going to be very interactive and the audience will have the chance to ask very specific questions about everything from social media to bringing the Internet into the classroom to the district-purchased (device) to the bring your own device, digital privacy, lots of issues beyond just the education aspect,” she said. “We haven’t focused very heavily on technology at this level in the past, so this is really something new.”
Kentucky Department of Education and school district representatives will lead several sessions focusing on innovation.
“We’ll hear firsthand from some districts that participated in the nontraditional instruction days program,” Schelling said. “They’ll talk about the successes, some of the challenges and how that program is evolving for year two. David Cook, director of KDE’s Division of Innovation and Partner Engagement, is going to lead a session to help you assess if your school board has a culture of innovation, and help board members look toward the future.”
Conference attendees also will get a lesson in the value of approaching change with levity.
“Jan McInnis, our opening speaker on Friday, will talk about finding the funny in change,”
Schelling said. “And with all the changes that have gone on in education recently, it is a very timely topic. It’s not just about learning to deal with change; she talks a lot about defusing tension, how when you have tough conversations, being lighthearted and approaching some of these difficult things with more levity can lead to more successful results.”