The Total Child

Zika Guidance for Schools

(National Awareness) Permanent link

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 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed interim guidance for kindergarten through twelfth-grade district and school administrators for public health actions pertaining to Zika virus infection.

 The guidance is intended to address concerns about the risk for Zika virus infection in schools in the continental U.S. and Hawaii, provide information for planning school-related activities, and recommend concrete actions that can be taken -- in consultation with local public health authorities and government officials -- to reduce the potential risk for Zika virus transmission on school premises and among students.

 The guidance supplies a general overview of the potential roles and responsibilities of public health authorities and school officials, describes prevention measures that schools can take to reduce mosquito exposure, and shares information on responding to a case of travel-associated Zika virus infection or confirmed local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.

Superintendent Leadership for Professional Development Redesign: An Overview

(Innovative Professional Development) Permanent link

By Bryan Joffe, Project Director

AASA’s Innovative Professional Development partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began in July 2014. In this effort, we work with school districts to assess their professional development systems and redesign teacher and leader PD using innovative practices. We’ve directly assisted five school districts in analyzing and redesigning PD; these districts combine to serve more than 750,000 students!  

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This year, AASA created the Superintendent PD Redesign Community of Practice which includes 22 school districts from 12 different states. This group meets in-person once a year and three times a year through video conference to share strategies, best practices, and resources to improve professional development.

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In working with these varied and unique districts, we’ve learned some collective lessons along the way:

a.  Districts have to find the right balance between collective learning that unifies teachers in the district through a set of common experiences and shared language and personalized PD tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of individual teachers.

b.  Data and decision-making – more and better data to identify what’s having an impact is needed to help districts make the tough decisions about where and how to spend limited resources.

c.     Innovative Designs to PD should incorporate:

  1.  Collaborative time for teachers to work together, reflect and share learning
  2.  A coherent and aligned professional development curriculum that sequences and builds meaningful skills
  3.  Feedback systems that privilege honesty, collegiality, and support
  4.  School and Teacher leaders as models: identifying peer leaders and sharing their expertise
  5.  Measuring quality and impact – what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next
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Superintendent Robert Avossa, Palm Beach County School District (Fla.) with a student. 

 Building an effective, efficient system for developing teachers and leaders is not easy work. It takes commitment, time, and collaboration from multiple school district departments – teaching and learning, finance, HR, and IT just to name a few. But we know the work is valuable and important because as teaching improves, student learning improves. And student learning is what AASA and our members are all about.
We are so grateful to the many superintendents, PD directors, principals, teachers, partner organizations and colleagues that have worked and continue to work alongside AASA to enhance and improve professional development nationwide. 

For more information on AASA and Innovative Professional Development, go to http://aasa.org/ipd.aspx.

AASA Children's Programs Out and About: Volunteering At the White House Kitchen Garden

(Healthy Eating and Active Living , On The Road) Permanent link

On Wednesday, July 12th, Kelly Beckwith and Rebecca Shaw of AASA’s Children’s Programs department volunteered at the White House Kitchen Garden alongside with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Park Service.

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(Pictured L-R) Rebecca Shaw, Project Coordinator, AASA and Kelly Beckwith, Project Director, AASA at the White House Kitchen Garden

The garden is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to teach children about healthy eating and where their food comes from. As an Educational Leadership Partner of Let’s Move! Active Schools, AASA is a proponent of healthy eating and active living in schools to help combat childhood obesity


It was a privilege to have hands-on experience harvesting vegetables and learning how the food is grown and used in the White House Kitchen Garden. Most of the food is used for the First Family’s personal meals, though some is used in state dinners and at other events. Some of the vegetables are also taken to a local food bank, to prepare fresh, healthy meals for the homeless.

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AASA is grateful to be a Let’s Move! partner and to share the message of healthy eating and active living with superintendents nationwide.

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