Archive for June, 2012

The conference begins

The day started off early with an 8am session for which I served as a discussant entitled, “Higher Education for Improving Teaching Practice and Outcomes for Children: Taking Paths Toward Greater Effectiveness”. The presenters were Marilou Hyson, Diane Horm and Pamela Winton and fellow discussant was Terri Swim.

The session began with a description of the settings and contexts for Higher Education today and went on to discuss the following:

  • Program content
  • Standards & Accreditation
  • Delivery systems
  • Faculty in ECE programs
  • Assessing the impact of Higher Education

I enjoyed participating in this session as it was organized in such a way that the presenters, discussants, and audience participants were all actively engaged in the discussion. Some of the topics were depressing to say the least but we were able to share and hear about many innovative pockets in teacher education and that was promising indeed.

In the afternoon, we all gathered together to hear the Plenary speaker. I’d like to save that for another post. I will say that I found it inspiring as well as intriguing. More to come!

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ACCESS Board Retreat 2012

What a full day!

The ACCESS Board started out bright and early this morning for our Retreat. We will have an official report from the meeting posted in the ACCESS member section of the website once we all return home, but I thought I’d just share some of the highlights.

We spent some time thinking about our purpose and the mission of the organization and then we spent some time really analyzing our roles on the board, how our responsibilities overlap, and where we need support.

We used large post-its, small post-its, and a variety of shaped sticky notes to help us organize our thinking and to create a visual representation of our work.

Accomplishments since the 2008 Board Retreat

Arranging our roles and responsibilities

There were some short games that got us thinking about how to infuse a playful element to what we do.

I really liked the balloon toss! Nancy played some music and we began to toss one balloon among the group. Each time she stopped the music we had to add one more balloon and continue to keep them all off the ground.

one balloon

Pretty shortly it became a challenge to keep all the balloons in the air and we really had to work together to keep things afloat!

many balloons

I think we did some very good reflecting, thinking, and planning in order to continue to serve the mission of the organization as it moves to the next stage of its development. We worked hard together over a long day and you will hear more about the strategic plan as we move through the summer and prepare for the fall.

Personally, I think the balloon activity will stay in my memory as a visual (and motor!) representation of how the ACCESS Board and, in fact, how the ACCESS organization works:

We wear many hats and play many roles

We always have lots of balls in the air

We tend to have fun together

We work as a team to help each other to keep things afloat

At the end of the day, we shared a meal together and then went our seperate ways. I took a little walk around the downtown area and this is what I saw:

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Retreat today. You all are troopers!

I also want to give a very special thank you to Nancy Beaver, President Elect, for suggesting that we have the Retreat and then for planning and facilitating everything for us. This was a very thoughtful, supportive, and productive day. I also want to thank Judy Sherwood for sending lovely decorations and treats for us even though she could not be there in person.

Stay tuned for more information about the 2012 ACCESS Board Retreat in upcoming communications.

Greetings from Indianapolis!

I had the pleasure of driving from Chicago to Indianapolis today. It was actually a lovely drive. I enjoyed seeing lots of soybean fields and a rather picturesque field of wind turbines.

The ACCESS Board is meeting tomorrow for what we are calling a “mini” retreat. The last time the board had a retreat was in New Orleans in 2008. Many of the current Board members were new Board members back then, some of us have changed roles on the board, and some folks have moved on to do other things as members of the ACCESS community.

Retreats are a good time for reflection. Like the retreat in 2008, we will spend time thinking about the ACCESS history and thinking about our mission and the current direction of the organization. I’m excited to start off the 2012 Professional Development Institute with some concentrated time with the Board to really dive in and do some strategic planning. As I face the last leg of my Presidency it’s so nice to be able to take the time to reflect on where we have come, and to plan the next steps of where we need to go!

If you will be at the conference, I certainly hope you will come to the 2012 ACCESS Day on Monday. I always look forward to seeing folks in person during our twice-per-year face-to-face time!

As always, I will try to blog throughout the week to share what we are working on and continue the discussions online so everyone can join in the conversation. I look forward to talking with you!

Downtown Indianapolis



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