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Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
June 1, 2007
Vol. 49
No. 6

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      The notion of networks seems slightly passé in a world that is wired—and wireless.
      Anyone in an ASCD Network can tell you the true value of networks is the members, who are driven to connect with each other by their passions for special interests, causes, or topics in education.
      Because networks are vehicles for professional development, they provide collegial opportunities for educators to share the nitty-gritty of daily experiences and new research on their topics of interest.
      Gail Clark Dickson, director of constituent partnerships, says the groups have a lot of interests relevant to ASCD, particularly as the organization weighs in on crucial issues affecting education. In fact, she believes ASCD Networks could play an increasingly strong role in influencing public policy.
      "I'd like to see the networks embrace advocacy of their issues in ways that can influence the legislative agenda," says Dickson.
      The existing 36 ASCD Networks give members opportunities to share information across districts, state lines, and national borders. ASCD Networks share such issues as leadership mentoring, global education, affective factors in learning, and restructuring schools. Many issues transcend national borders, so it's not unusual to have fruitful exchanges and even projects that bring together educators from far-flung corners of the globe.
      To support the networks, ASCD provides numerous resources, including a $1,500 yearly grant that many groups use to help fund newsletters or Web sites. At each ASCD Annual Conference—including this year's in Anaheim—networks are given opportunities to make presentations about their work. They also meet colleagues and potential members face to face in professional and social settings that increase awareness and membership.
      Any ASCD member can set up a network with at least 15 fellow ASCD members; however, groups must be open to all. On this page and the next are profiles of a few ASCD Networks representing a cross-section of interests. Further information, proposal forms, and ways to contact existing ASCD Networks are available atwww.ascd.org/networks.

      Rick Allen is a former ASCD writer and content producer.

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