Connecting with members was a running theme throughout the ISTE Board of Directors meeting Feb. 21-23 in Las Vegas. The board met with educators from one of the largest U.S. districts, discussed an opportunity for members to watch the board in action at its June meeting and restructured receptions and other activities at the ISTE Conference and Expo to make it easier for the board to network with attendees.

The meeting opened with a panel discussion with educators from Clark County School District in southern Nevada. ISTE Board Chair Kecia Ray invited representatives of the district, which serves Las Vegas and is the fifth-largest in the nation, in order to keep members front and center in the minds of the board as it conducted its business.

“Our idea is to change things up and create more strategic conversation focused on connecting with members to support the work they are doing every day in their schools,” Ray said. 

Clark County has embraced ed tech. It’s a district with 1:1 schools, blended learning and a BYOD policy that allows students to use cell phones, laptops, tablets and other devices in class.  

“What was really wonderful was that we had a superintendent, a chief innovation and productivity officer, a principal/teacher, an academic manager, and two board trustees saying the same thing about how important technology is in implementing the Common Core and preparing students for college and career,” Ray said.

Board members also had the opportunity to learn more about how educators see ISTE’s role in technology implementation. 

“We asked if we need to change our standards,” Ray said. “And they said, ‘No, you have great standards that work in any school district. What you need to do is package them with the Common Core,’” she said. “We are already working on fusing the ISTE Standards with the Common Core, so it was good to hear that feedback.”

The Clark County educators also emphasized the need to catalog effective practices, Ray said, which is another initiative that ISTE is undertaking.

Watch the board in action

In another effort to connect with members, the board is inviting ISTE 2014 attendees to watch its board meeting June 25-26 from a gallery in the Atlanta conference center. Although the conference doesn’t begin until June 28, those who are in the area early can watch the meeting and tweet questions to the board. The board will respond to some of the questions before and after breaks.

Board will move toward more focused social events

At past ISTE conferences, board members attended half a dozen or so receptions and social events but rarely had the time to talk to members, Ray said. That was the impetus for a decision to create two main events at the conference that the board would attend: a by-invitation luncheon and a board reception for all attendees after the opening general session.

“Running all over the place and only spending five or 10 minutes at each event never allowed enough opportunity to meet everyone,” Ray said, adding that the new schedule will allow board members as well as ISTE CEO Brian Lewis, time to walk around and visit with more members who attend those events.

Board nominees chosen

The board approved the Ballot Committee’s recommendations for nominees to the ISTE Board ahead of the election to be held March 18 through April 18. The ballot will include Laurie Conzemius, Paige Johnson, Shirley Campbell, Hall Davidson, Chris Johnson and Pamela Lloyd.

Outgoing board members recognized

Ray recognized the contributions of the seven board members whose service concludes in June: Arlene Borthwick, Holly Jobe, Gwyneth Jones, Mike Lawrence, Kathy Schrock, Laurie Conzemius, Paige Johnson and Betsy Goeltz.

New meeting schedule approved

The board voted to change its schedule and will now meet in person quarterly — in June, September, January and April. Previously, the board met three times a year and held three additional virtual meetings between face-to-face meetings.

“President” becomes “chair”

The board approved changing the elected leader of the board’s title from “president” to “chair,” consistent with other governance changes underway since the board began moving to Policy Governance in 2011. It conveys that it is the board, and not any individual, that provides strategic direction for the organization. “We’re trying to shift to be more of a collective presence,” Ray said. “Before it was more iconic. A lot of people knew we had a president but didn’t fully realize the work of the board.”