• Future Ready: Why the Spring Leadership Conference is Critical

    Posted by Dr. Richard G. Bozza at 4/4/2017

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    New Jersey public education is at a dynamic crossroad: politically, nationally and locally.  We’re working with a new federal administration, and soon enough we’ll also have a new governor and legislature. That means, from school funding to special education, school vouchers, graduation standards, and more, we’re waiting to see what will happen.

    This year’s Spring Leadership Conference will be more critical than ever. In a volatile educational landscape where the rules could literally change within a school year, chief education officers have to be nimble and ready for anything. The Spring Leadership Conference serves up a smorgasbord of topics, addressing the “pain points” being faced by New Jersey’s public school districts. These are sessions presented by your peers—leaders who are student-focused, problem-solvers, innovators, motivators, strategic planners and successful implementers in New Jersey’s public schools.

    New Jersey Sessions Offer Practical Advice, Best Practices

    Since Governor Christie’s State-of-the-State message where he asked the legislature for a new funding formula, funding remains top of mind for all of us. Our conference addresses cost-cutting efficiencies, ways to tighten negotiations, pitfalls in strategic planning, and more.

    We’re continuing the push with technology in the classroom, implementing a digital science curriculum and harnessing game-based technology to engage learners. As districts begin to shift the focus to the whole child, we’re offering sessions on character development through web and mobile programs and refining our social media practices.   

    Special education is another hot button topic. A recent federal court decision highlighted the need to raise the bar for services to propel these students to achievement. The conference identifies several ways to do this, through multiple sessions.

    Effective leaders have a vision and work doggedly toward it. The conference will help you to empower your staff by fostering leadership. These, and many other sessions, are designed to help you lead more effectively, and from a position of strength.

    National Keynote Speakers to Inspire, Share Ideas

    The Spring Leadership Conference provides a national perspective from some of the most inspiring names in education today.

    If you don’t know Eric LeGrand, you soon will. This young man was sidelined by a severe spinal injury but that didn’t stop him. Now a sports analyst, author, and founder of his own foundation, Eric has had the opportunity to experience the fullness of life in ways he could not have imagined.

    According to Dr. Steve Constantino, when Every Family’s Engaged, Every Student Learns! That’s the topic of the talk by this teacher, author and entrepreneur who challenges conventional leadership thinking. He’ll share his unique approach to engagement through his Five Simple Principles™ model.

    Southern New Hampshire University was named the 12th most innovative organization in the world by Fast Company magazine. We’ll hear from Raymond J. McNulty, who is Dean of Education. He’ll be talking about being Future Ready Today—Where Best Practices Meet Next Practices.

    In three action-packed days at the Spring Leadership Conference, you will get new ideas and tools for this year and beyond. Our program is future-oriented and based on the standards for professional leadership—which will get you ready to effectively navigate an uncertain educational landscape. Public education is at a dynamic crossroad. Put yourself on the right path for the future.

    To register for the 35th Annual NJASA/NJAPSA Spring Leadership Conference on May 17-19, 2017 at Caesars Atlantic City, click on the following links for the registration page, information on hotel reservations and a waiver for overnight lodging. Together, we can conquer the challenges of an uncertain educational landscape—so that students will be ready to take on their future.

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  • "The Best ROI – Our Children"

    Posted by Dr. Richard G. Bozza at 3/7/2017

    NJASA has a long and proud tradition of advocating for children and preparing leaders to steer schools and districts in the direction of positive futures. The children of New Jersey represent the future of our great state, our nation, and our world.  We, as educational leaders, have the responsibility to effectively educate all students through our public education system.

    Our critics will comment that "The Best ROI – Our Children" is a self-promoting sound byte that only serves the special interests of education leaders. 

    Well, I am here to tell them they are wrong!

    I suggest they visit a kindergarten class and observe the students’ excitement and eagerness to learn. Then ask them, "Do you ever wonder if one of these bright, energetic students will someday discover the cure for Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, or possibly craft the solution to Global Warming?"

    If, we as a society do not invest in the education of our children, where will our next generation of doctors, educators, elected representatives, and scientists gain the knowledge and skill set to lead us into the future?

    It is disheartening that the Governor’s FY 2018 Budget of $35.5 billion does not value our children as "The Best ROI."

    In reviewing the State of New Jersey FY18 Budget Presentation, February 28, 2017, the Governor’s seven-year record of flat funding under the 2-percent tax levy cap continues to exacerbate the financial difficulties which school districts have been wrestling.

    Additionally, New Jersey’s shrinking revenue base - due to tax decreases - has placed the fiscal stability of school districts in greater peril.

    Yes, the overall FY 2018 recommendation increases funding for pension contributions and post retirement health benefits; however, the funding for operating school districts remains flat.

    But, what does flat funding mean for students, parents, schools, educators and taxpayers?

    School parents and students will be faced with diminished programs and requests for greater out-of-pocket contributions for athletics and co-curricular activities.

    The costs of educating students and operating a school district increase on an annual basis.  And expenses for providing for special education students are rising at a faster rate than those for regular education. Districts are challenged to support increasing costs for special education students within the 2-percent cap to the tax levy.

    Back in September 2016, NJASA gave its support to the school funding reform initiative by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, getting behind legislation that would lead to full funding for all New Jersey schools.

    The Association's support followed the Senate approval of the bill, SCR-119, creating the six-member "State School Funding Aid Fairness Commission" that will develop a five-year plan increasing state aid by $100 million annually to reach full funding.

    This process will produce a long overdue analysis of the school funding system and provide a way to make it better for New Jersey's schools and students.

    Now six-months later, the Governor’s request to the New Jersey Legislature to design a new funding formula within the next 100 days puts greater pressure on the legislators to speed up their review and revision of the current school funding law.  

    NJASA's Vision 2020 plan acknowledges the need for predictable and sufficient funding to ensure world-class performance. Let’s hope that the factors noted here and the Governor's mischief don’t wreak havoc in school funding and result in less opportunity for New Jersey Public School students during the years ahead.

    Chief education officers, with their experience and fiscal acumen, will continue to work with our elected officials in addressing the impact of the State’s fiscal commitment to public education.

    Funding is an on ongoing issue for New Jersey’s schools and NJASA looks forward to a good-faith effort of bipartisan support by our elected officials to work together for the future of New Jersey.


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    Posted by Dr. Richard G. Bozza at 1/10/2017

    TECHSPO 2017



    Don’t Miss NJASA TECHSPO ’17, New Jersey’s Premier Educational Technology Training and Exhibition Conference for School Leaders

    From 3D printing to virtual reality, there’s no limit to how technology is transforming the educational process in New Jersey’s classrooms. As technology becomes “smarter” and more interactive, school leaders need to stay informed about best practices for smart decisions on technology investment for their districts. 

    You’re invited to attend NJASA’s TECHSPO ‘17 on January 26–27, 2017, at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. TECHSPO is New Jersey’s Premier Educational Technology Training and Exhibition Conference for School Leaders. At TECHSPO ‘17, you’ll experience two days filled with formal sessions and impromptu networking opportunities to share experiences, find solutions, and discover the latest tools and resources in education today. You’ll network with 1,000+ K-12 educators, participate in any of 70+ workshops, and visit a wide array of exhibitors.

    Matt Beaudreau Get ready to be inspired by our keynote speakers. Matt Beaudreau will tell us how to cross the generational divide. As a professor, school administrator, athletic director, and millennial, Matt will give us insight into the upcoming generation known as Gen Z or iGen. He’ll share surprising statistics, laugh-out-loud stories, and frontline-tested strategies to bring back to your district.

    Marc Prensky We’ll also hear from Marc Prensky, who coined the term “Digital Native.” Marc is an internationally known speaker, author, and visionary who thinks that education should be more than academic learning. Education, Marc says, should be about accomplishments that improve our world. He’ll tell us how to develop a young person’s capacity to create powerful projects that do change the world.

    In two action-packed days at TECHSPO ‘17, you will get new ideas and tools for this year and beyond. Workshops will cover the latest in technology and the innovative ways that districts are using it. Examples include:

    • Virtual Reality in the Classroom
    • Digital Citizenship and Character Education
    • The Dirty 30 – Version 4.0
    • Robotics for Special Needs Students
    • What Language Do You Speak? Coding for All
    • Google Professional Development: Keeping Current on the G Suite, Apps, Extensions, and More!
    • From Computer Class to MakerSpace in One Year
    • Student Designers: Robotics Supporting Career-ready Practices

    You’ll also have a chance to connect with educational leaders from around the state so you can problem-solve and brainstorm when you get back to your districts.

    Don’t miss your chance to take your district’s technology program to the next level! Click on the following links for the registration page, information on hotel reservations, and a waiver for overnight lodging. Together, we can conquer the challenges of technology and embrace opportunities so that students will be ready to take on their future.


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