The 63rd Annual Conference of the Association of Alaska School Boards was held in Anchorage on November 10-13, 2016. Three hundred and thirty School board members from 48 of Alaska’s 53 school districts, including three members of the UCSD Board, were represented at this conference. Additionally, 65 high school students were in attendance at the Youth Leadership Institute, including Marjamae Pili and Brian Conwell, which ran concurrent with the AASB conference.
Interwoven throughout this year’s conference was an emphasis on personalized learning and the power of storytelling. Thus, the theme of the conference: Every Student, Every Story.
Gene Tagaban, an accomplished Tlingit Native American storyteller, returned for a second year to demonstrate his uncanny ability to deliver an enchanting personal message through traditional stories, dance, and music. Mr. Tagaban also taught the youth the power of their stories who many then shared with the adults during round table discussions and at the awards banquet.
As with previous annual conferences, AASB provided a broad range of topics of interest, including sectionals on board relations, school law, education technology, legislative issues, effective communication, and school climate, to name just a few. One significant change to the conference agenda that came as a result of previous participant feedback, was to schedule more time for board members and youth to network among themselves and with one another.
During the conference, the AASB Board of Directors and membership holds a series of meetings to conduct the business of the organization. On the final day of the conference, the membership chooses officers and discusses and ratifies its slate of resolutions for the coming year. Member school boards spent time prior to the conference preparing resolutions and recommending for sunset those resolutions that are no longer relevant. The resolutions process culminates in a set of legislative priorities that guides school board members as they assume the roles of lobbyists for public education during the upcoming legislative session.
As ex-officio members of their respective school boards, many superintendents were in attendance at the annual conference to work with their board members and to share in this opportunity for professional development. The annual AASB conference is a tremendous opportunity for individual boards, superintendents and the organization as a whole to network, learn, and build stronger teams to advocate for the children of Alaska.
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