I have been a member of ASCD (The Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development) since the early 80s when I began teaching in public school. I found that Educational Leadership, the organization’s journal, carried the most relevant written professional development of any similar organization so I maintained my membership through the years. I also began attending the national ASCD Conferences in the late 90s and with two exceptions, I have attended every one since.
Many of the great initiatives of the last twenty years from Understanding By Design and curriculum mapping to differentiated instruction and teacher evaluation have come directly from ASCD authors. This non-profit found the secret to promoting great ideas: include potentially field changing books as “free” member benefits. For example, has there been any publication more influential in instructional pedagogy than the ASCD published Framework for Teaching by Charlotte Danielson?
Last week I participated in NHASCD’s Executive Board’s annual retreat. I’ve been a member of the New Hampshire affiliate’s Executive Board for many years. Due to our relationship with “big ASCD” we are able to bring in the most influential educational speakers, authors, and thinkers in the country to conduct workshops for New Hampshire educators. In the last few years we have sponsored leading researchers Bob Marzano and Doug Reeves, UbD authors Grant Wiggins and Jay McTigue, PLC gurus Rick and Becky DuFour, and curriculum mapping aficiando Heidi Hayes Jacobs. In the next two years, we have literacy expert Regie Routman and leadership pundits Tony Wagner, and Andy Hargreaves present at the Grappone Center in Concord, NH.
We are starting to branch out into advocacy as well, as our relationship and influence within the New Hampshire Legislature has increased thanks in large part to our NHASCD Board Member Rob Tenney, an Administrator from the New Hampshire Department of Education who has developed very workable relationships with the legislators.