Walter McKenzie

Education in Your Backyard

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

As a director of Constituent Services at ASCD, I work with the best and the brightest educators leading our affiliates around the world. It is a sincere honor and privilege. And this time of year, as affiliate boards begin meeting, reflecting, and planning, I have the opportunity to work with them virtually and face-to-face and support them in their important work. Representing ASCD, I enjoy bringing the collective resources of the world's premier professional education association to our leaders in the field. What I enjoy the most, though, is learning from our affiliates as they share their successes and opportunities.

Here are some examples from the road this spring:

  • ASCD and its affiliates have made the successful case for the whole child approach in the national and global dialogue on education.
  • The Whole Child Tenets nicely align with and complement (PDF) the Common Core State Standards.
  • There are opportunities to meet the needs of teachers and students not already being addressed.
  • Educators continue to respond to quality, targeted professional development that meets their immediate needs.
  • Teachers are still learning how to understand and implement the instructional shifts necessary to effectively teach the Common Core State Standards.
  • Ongoing job-embedded professional development is an effective way to model and apply effective instructional practices.
  • Among all the hype and clamor, educators continue to seek out ASCD and its affiliates as a trusted voice that speaks without bias to what is best for children.
  • Recognizing schools in an affiliate's state, province, or country that are working to implement the tenets of ASCD's Whole Child Initiative helps raise the discourse on education for everyone in the region.
  • Education needs to be aligned from preK–16 to ensure consistency and continuity throughout a student's academic career and to address teacher preparation needs for the future.
  • The whole child approach to education creates the context for 21st century values of empathy, resilience, self-control, self-confidence, optimism, curiosity, conscientiousness, persistence, and grit.

The education landscape continues to shift and evolve before our eyes, and ASCD and its affiliates hold strong in their commitment to meet the needs of educators. If you believe in this important work, seek out the ASCD Affiliate in your region and join the cause. I am proud to work with these talented, dedicated education professionals, and I believe you will be too.

Walter McKenzie is a lifelong learner, teacher, leader, and connector. A 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 network, on his Actualization blog, or by e-mail at wmckenzie@ascd.org.

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