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II&T Workshop
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Professional Resources
a small gathering of resources as seen by a questioning and exploring student/educator

For the past two summers I have worked at The Educational Policy and Issues Center EPI-Center in Pittsburgh. The EPI-Center focuses on four main areas: competent graduates, strong beginnings, benchmarking and reporting, and public engagement and information. They have partnerships with all of the different constituents in education. While there, I have uncovered lots of interesting sites for educators, no matter what part of education they are in or where their primary interests and passions lie.

One of my primary passions is professional development. No matter what field or occupation a person is in, I believe that there is always room for improvement and benefits from learning new and different techniques. I especially believe that this is true in education. The demographics of schools are changing, what other disciplines have taught us abut human learning and development have changed, and what worked ten years ago might not work now. One of the superintendents that we worked with this summer reminded me that professional development is not necessarily limited to in-service days or attaining higher degrees. It's attending conferences and reading books, it's going beyond one's current beliefs and ideas to explore what else it there, with less emphasis on the means. Those who work in policy and administration need to keep up with what is happening in the classrooms, not just what's happening in policy and government. All educators should be pro-active in their own learning and continual development.

Below are some of the sites that I have found useful and those which have been recommended by others. Most are applicable to all educators though some pertain more to those focusing on elementary education.

Some of the organizations and projects I have worked on are listed below. They mainly focus on school to work. They are:
Commission for Workforce Excellence The Commission works to develop a workforce that meets the needs of Allegheny County employers. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Connection also works to connect businesses that have complimentary interests and resources.

One of our most critical resources is the Pennsylvania School Profiles. Every PA public school is requested to fill out a questionnaire and submit critical information, including test scores. This site is easy to navigate with schools broken down by name, school district, and Intermediate Unit. Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is helpful, especially if you are teaching in the state. There is even a site where you submit your resume, etc., and most of the western PA school districts can access it from there.

Before delving into the different resources, I would like to mention one that focuses on current events. Education Week on the Web is a great site and is updated weekly. It is very similar to the one that is published in hardcopy every week. This site also has a brief page on current topics and issues and has a wonderful collection of recently published books.

While researching for our report, I found that there are a lot of helpful resources at the national level which then provide either local groups or ways to work to change education in a more community based approach. The Federal Department of Education provides many good resources and makes great attempts to pull different groups together to form more comprehension resources and materials. There is now a national award winning teacher, Terry Dozier, who is a special advisor to Secretary Riley on teaching.

The National Education Association is a good site to browse for responses and resources around current topics. This organization focuses on public education but has resources for all of the different constituents. At the local level, the NEA offers many resources, including professional development workshops and offers support for teachers in renegotiations for their contracts. On the state level, the NEA often lobbies politicians on the side of teachers, students, and public education in general. They also work to protect academic freedom. At the national level, they also work to ensure public education for all and work with congressional movements as appropriate. They also organize and coordinate large projects and initiatives, along with comprehensive resources.

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is a great site too. Their three main focal points are "professionalism in an era of accountability, standards and accounting, and diversity and community." They have several regular publications including, Educational Leadership, The Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, and Education Update. This site also has an extensive list of current books that might be of interest to educators.

As for the teaching profession itself, there are lots of sites and groups that are working to improve that aspect of education.

One site, The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards helps not only educate teachers but also allows for national certification. This certification is not yet feasible for all teachers due to both the high cost and the enormous time commitment in preparing a very comprehensive portfolio. Some states, though not all, do offer monetary and other benefits to achieving national certification.

Very quickly, some other good sites for the teaching profession are: National Commission on Teaching and America's Future headed by Linda Darling-Hammond and National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching.

There are also good resources for those of us going into elementary and early childhood education. At the national level, The National Association for the Education of Young Children is a wonderful site and has many useful publications and links. The Children's Defense Fund (Marian Wright Edelman is speaking at BMC's graduation!), National Association of Child Advocates, and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children are more general sites that are working for the best interests of our children.

For those that are interested in reading, there are also some helpful sites.
America Reads is a national campaign encouraging all Americans to take a vested interest in helping our children learn to read. On Dr. Seuss' birthday last month, members of the community are asked to come into our nation's classrooms and read to the children. In my placement, the school asks the support staff, who are not in classrooms, to come in and read.
Read Write Now is another national interest but one that is researched based and encouraged children to read and write for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. During at least one of times, the child works with a tutor, focusing on a specific area.
While focusing on more than just reading to include mathematics, and the social sciences, Success for All does work to improve the content and design of curriculum and schools so that all students can achieve.

This has only been a small sample of the numerous education resources available both on the web and in the world. I encourage you to take the time to peruse the different sites and find your own collection of resourceful sites.

This page was created by Anne C. King (Bryn Mawr College, 2000) and is meant only for research and entertainment purposes. Discussing these sites together does not mean that they support each other or that I am completely in agreement with their philosophy. This page is an amateur collection of resources and should be taken as such. Hopefully some will find at least one site helpful.