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02/19/2015

ASCD Executive Director Judy Seltz to serve on Alliance’s Board of Directors as LFA works to advance public education

Washington, D.C. – February 19, 2015 – The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, welcomes ASCD as its newest member organization. Through this partnership, Judy Seltz, executive director of ASCD, will join LFA’s Board of Directors as the Alliance continues its work for the advancement of public education.

“ASCD’s dedication to excellence in learning, teaching and leading aligns with – and supports – the mission and ongoing work of LFA and our member organizations as a whole,” said Cheryl S. Williams, executive director of the Learning First Alliance. “Through this partnership, and with the expertise of Judy Seltz as a board member, ASCD will be instrumental in helping the Alliance promote the ongoing successes of our nation’s public schools.”

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Comprising 125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 56 affiliate organizations. ASCD's innovative solutions promote the success of each child.

Judy Seltz was appointed executive director of ASCD in June 2014. She formerly served ASCD as Chief Officer of Constituent Services and Deputy Executive Director.  In that capacity she directed the association's work with its affiliates and other constituent groups in the United States and across the globe, on public policy, governance, and the whole child. 

Prior to that role, Seltz served as associate executive director for planning and communications at AASA: The School Superintendents Association. She also worked with International Schools Services in Princeton, N.J., where she supported American international schools overseas, coordinating and directing strategic planning, professional development, and school board training. In the mid-1990s, she served as an ASCD regional director, working with various constituent groups.

Additionally, Seltz spent eight years on the school board of Alexandria City (VA) Public Schools as a member and chair. She also served as the managing editor of Education of the Handicapped Law Report and The Special Educator.

Seltz earned her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University, her Master of Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and her J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.

To learn more about ASCD, visit www.ascd.org. To learn more about the LFA, visit www.learningfirst.org.

View the complete release here.

01/12/2015

Learning First Alliance Outlines How to Successfully Implement Common Core Standards to Benefit Students and Families

January 12, 2015 – Washington, DC - The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, released a white paper today with key lessons from the field on Common Core implementation: Getting Common Core Right: What We’ve Learned.

“There is more to successful Common Core implementation than simply added time,” said Cheryl Scott Williams, LFA’s Executive Director. “It takes leadership, courage and on the ground support to ensure effective implementation is happening in urban, suburban and rural communities throughout the country.”

Getting Common Core Right: What We’ve Learned details examples from the field and promotes best practices from large states to small districts. In California, state leaders have used a multi-stage process to phase-in the standards and connect them to teacher evaluations. In Toledo, Ohio, significant efforts have been made to involve practitioners in the process to understand the professional development supports necessary for success.

“Common Core standards are essential to helping all our kids achieve at a high-level regardless of where they live,” said Williams. “Over the past year, we have reached out to successful practitioners and stakeholders, asking them to share their experiences and wisdom through the Get It Right Campaign so others can learn from these experiences.”

Lessons learned from those in the field provide an important blueprint on how to take advantage of extra implementation time and make the best use of instructional materials, high-quality professional development and stakeholder engagement to the benefit of children, families, educators and the community at-large.

View the complete release here.

11/24/2014

Dr. Catherine Cushinberry brings extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations that support children to new role at LFA

Washington, D.C. – November 24, 2014 – The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, has welcomed  Dr. Catherine Cushinberry, executive director of Parents for Public Schools (PPS), as its newest board member. Passionate about her organization’s commitment to strengthening public education through the engagement, education and mobilization of parents, Dr. Cushinberry joined Parents for Public Schools in October 2014.

“With her extensive background leading organizations that support children, Dr. Cushinberry will be a great asset as an LFA board member,” said Cheryl S. Williams, executive director of the Learning First Alliance. “She, along with our entire board and their respective organizations, are vital to LFA’s ongoing work to promote the success of our nation’s public schools.”

Prior to joining PPS, Dr. Cushinberry was the director of research for Girls Inc. where she was responsible for program evaluation, measurable outcomes, and secondary data research and analysis. Prior to her role with Girls Inc., she served as executive director of a local Boys and Girls Club and was responsible for managing multiple sites, opening a teen center, and leading fundraising, staff development, marketing, and grant writing efforts. Dr. Cushinberry has also worked with nonprofits such as 4-H, United Way, Cheers to the Designated Driver, and grassroots organizations such as Camp PROMISE and Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy (J.U.I.C.E.).

In 2004, Dr. Cushinberry began a consulting business in Los Angeles, CA, where she provided services to nonprofit and for-profit organizations in the areas of organizational development and change, evaluation, and staff development and training.

Dr. Cushinberry serves as adjunct faculty at Union University (TN), Marian University (IN), and Indiana University (IN) and teaches undergraduate and master’s courses in research methods and family studies. She has also taught at California State University, Los Angeles and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Cushinberry received her B.S. degree from Murray State University and M.A. from the University of Memphis, both in communication. In 2004, she received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  

View the complete release here.

08/21/2014

U.S. Department of Education announcement respects educator voice, provides delay in tying teacher evaluations to standardized assessments.

Washington, D.C. – August 21, 2014 – Today, the Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

“The Learning First Alliance supports the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to allow states to delay tying teacher evaluation to standardized assessments aligned to new standards, including the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

LFA has long recognized the potential of the CCSS to transform teaching and learning and provide all children with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the global community; we have also long advocated for a transition period that respects the time that good implementation requires prior to attaching high-stakes decisions to aligned assessments. Today’s decision is a good step in the right direction.

The educators who are working hard every day to implement these standards – to ensure that all students have the opportunity to benefit from a higher bar for achievement, regardless of their zip code or family background – deserve and require our support in their efforts. This time is one key aspect of that support. Now we all – federal, state and local policymakers, educators, parents and other critical partners – must use this time effectively, working together to ensure schools have the curricular materials, technology infrastructure, professional learning, time for collaboration and other resources that are necessary to support student learning under these standards. We should look to those states and communities where implementation is going well and learn from their experiences while recognizing that individual implementation plans and materials will and should reflect the needs and priorities of each state, district and school.

It is also critical that we use this time to ensure that educators on the ground, as well as the parents and students who interact with the standards every day, have a significant voice in implementation, including in how assessment and accountability systems will be structured moving forward.

Today’s announcement indicates that the voices of educators, parents and local policymakers are getting through to the federal government. We must continue to work together to get implementation right.”

View the complete release here.