In the News
May 22, 2013
New Jersey Statewide CTE Conference, The College of New Jersey
The Power of CTE: Propelling Students to College & Career Readiness
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, The College of New Jersey
Ronni Reed will be presenting on Active Learning and Engagement Strategies for CTE Teachers.
The careers of today and the future will require individuals to have a robust set of skills, including strong academics, technical skills, innovation, problem solving, and critical thinking. This conference will present many current and emerging practices geared at fostering the development of skills in students to meet the demands of this knowledge-based, global economy. There will also be an emphasis on the development of rigorous programs of study in various pathways, including those in New Jersey's Key Industry Sectors. In addition to ensuring college and career success for students, CTE has the potential to stimulate economic and workforce development.
May 20, 2013
The 2013 Bruce Oliver Leadership Award was presented on Monday, May 20th at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel in Fairfax, Virginia. This award has been presented annually since 2009 to select staff members in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Virginia, and the businesspeople who are involved in partnerships that reflect the dynamic and lasting partnership Bruce built with Navy Federal Credit Union–a partnership recognized nationally for its valuable achievements. Following Bruce’s retirement, Navy Federal Credit Union honored his dedication and leadership with this annual award.
The Celebrate Partnerships Awards Ceremony, conducted each spring, is one of FCPS’ favorite ways to have the Superintendent of Schools, principals and others to thank business and community partners and honor exceptional ones. The awards ceremony celebrates new and existing partners and those nominated for awards.
In 1989 as principal of Thoreau Middle School, FCPS, Virginia, Bruce led the initiative to enter into a partnership with Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU). According to the Thoreau website, Since that time, Navy Federal employees have come together with Henry David Thoreau’s students and faculty to share their time, talents, and expertise. The partnership’s programs are many and varied, all with the same goal, to enhance student motivation and career awareness and improve basic skills. Navy Federal employees volunteer as speakers, tutors, activity sponsors and mentors to Thoreau students. Through their commitment to these programs, Navy Federal employees demonstrate that volunteers can truly make a difference in the lives of our students.
Annual partnership events/activities include the Mentor and Pen Pal Programs, choral/ band/orchestra concerts, and Project Neighbors (provides holiday gifts, food, clothing, furniture and support to families in need). Additional partnership events/activities include student art exhibits and receptions at Navy Federal; all “A” honor roll parties; teacher appreciation luncheons; student and faculty awards for service excellence; monetary donations for faculty professional development; and printing of various newsletters, handbooks, literary arts magazines, music programs, and posters.
Contact Bruce at
if you are interested in learning how to establish or enhance a school-business partnership. Bruce will focus on school-business partnerships in an upcoming issue of Just for the ASKing!
April 12, 2013
Just ASK was proud to provide over two dozen books as door prizes for the Exemplary Work and More Conference, held in Bloomington, Indiana, on April 12th. According to the Indiana University School of Education website, students from across teacher education programs in the Indiana University School of Education participated in the day-long conference. The Indiana Student Education Association (ISEA) coordinated the showcase of top work by undergraduate teacher education students, which was also an opportunity for pre-service teachers to learn from experienced teachers and those who are just into the field. Clinical Associate Professor of Elementary Education Carol-Anne Hossler was the faculty advisor for ISEA and the conference.
April 9, 2013
Congratulations to the Dynamic Duo: Theresa and Maria!
Their All-Day Concurrent Session Selected for Learning Forward Annual Conference in Dallas!
Excerpts of email from Learning Forward:
The Learning Forward Conference Program Planning Committee, members of the Host Committee, and Learning Forward staff have completed the review of more than 500 session proposals for the Learning Forward Annual Conference to be held in Dallas, TX, December 7-11, 2013. We are delighted to inform you that your session was selected for the concurrent program. It is scheduled as Session A07 on Monday, December 9, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and continuing from 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Learning Forward Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Session Description: Leading the Learning in Turnaround Schools
Investigate successful strategies and practices used to turn around a school under sanctions. Explore improvement methods including collaborative team meetings, multiple pathways to professional learning, fostering teacher leaders, and addressing and changing a culture of low expectations. Collect tools and templates and use a protocol to develop a plan for leading difficult conversations that can dramatically shift a schools culture.
April 8, 2013
Congratulations to Clint Mitchell, principal of Bel Air Elementary School in Prince William County Schools (PWCS), Virginia, who is a winner of the Washington Post's Distinguished Educational Leadership Award and is the Prince William County Principal of the Year. He is pictured here in the Just ASK booth at the ASCD Annual Conference in Chicago in March and receiving his awards from Dr. Steven Walts.
According to the PWCS website Clint "successfully led Bel Air from an NCLB school in need of improvement to being named a PWCS School of Excellence five times. Mitchell implemented numerous initiatives which enhanced student achievement. One such initiative placed two teachers in the classroom during math and language arts instruction. He uses site-based funds to providing tutoring on Saturday mornings for targeted students; last year, this program served 120 students. Recent Standards of Learning test scores show a 90 percent pass rate in reading, 89 percent in science, and 96 percent pass rate in history. He inspires the instructional staff through his involvement in the development of classroom programs and strong presence in the classroom."
March 20, 2013
Just ASK was represented by Ronni Reed, Just ASK Associate, and past president of Learning Forward New Jersey, at the organization’s annual conference held at Rider University. Ronni’s session titled Active Learning and Engagement is based on the Just ASK publication, Active Learning and Engagement Strategies. Ronni reported that the session was full to the brim and that the participants thoroughly enjoyed the active learning strategies they experienced and were very pleased with their complimentary copies of Active Learning and Engagement Strategies.
March 1-2, 2013
Paula and David Rutherford represented Just ASK at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) K-12 Conference and Exposition at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Lots of old friends stopped by the booth to swap stories and share successes. Friends of ASK who stopped by the booth were from Nash-Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Prince William County Schools, Virginia, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Pittsford Central, New York, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia, Hawkins County, Tennessee, Greece Central, New York, and Denver Community Schools, Iowa.
Just ASK is pleased to announce that our newest book Active Learning and Engagement Strategies has been selected as a 2012 District Administration Readers' Choice Top 100 Product.
The annual District Administration Readers' Choice Top 100 Products award recognizes leaders in the education industry, and provides superintendents and other senior school district leaders with the unique opportunity to learn what products their colleagues around the country are using, and how these products contribute to the success of their districts.
Active Learning and Engagement Strategies is the third Just ASK publication or product to win this coveted award in recent years. It joins our Mentoring in the 21st Century Kit and our New Teacher Development Kit as an award winner.
Just ASK is pleased to announce that RM Pellant has joined us as our International Schools Consultant. In the picture below, he is welcomed by Just ASK consultants Julie McVicker, Brenda Kaylor, and Theresa West. Most recently, RM was the principal of the International School of Tblisi, Republic of Georgia. He has also been on the staffs of the International School of Beijing and the American School of Kuwait. Additionally, he deployed with the US Army to Iraq for two years. RM and his family currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his wife, Dr. Daisy Pellant, is in a graduate program at Harvard University. In the fall, the Pellants plan once again to head abroad to work in another international school.
December 1-5, 2012
Once again, Just ASK was a Silver Sponsor and exhibitor at the Learning Forward Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Conference participants and friends of ASK stopped by booth 309 to discuss current and future partnerships with Paula Rutherford, Brenda Kaylor, and Julie McVicker. The Just ASK Making the Common Core Come Alive party was a huge success. Each person who made a purchase left with a bonus gift selected from our festive Common Core holiday tree.
November 28-30, 2012
Bruce Oliver, ASK Group Senior Consultant and author of Just ASK’s e-newsletter Just for the ASKing!, represented Just ASK at the 2012 VASCD Annual Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. Bruce’s session this year was titled, What Great Teachers Know and Do. Just ASK is proud to be a continuing sponsor of the VASCD Annual Conference.
November 7, 2012
Thank you to the Just ASK consultants and staff that donated and shipped relief supplies to New Jersey and New York. Ronni Reed's grandchildren volunteered to deliver food to those stranded by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, too. They made 128 sandwiches!
November 2012 Just ASK is pleased to announce that Amanda Figueroa has joined the company as an administrative assistant. Amanda is from Los Angeles, California and El Paso, Texas. She graduated from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia in January 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Welcome aboard, Amanda!
October 31, 2012
Meet the Just ASK Trick-or-Treaters!
Meet Heather Clayton Kwit! Heather is the author of Just ASK’s new e-newsletter Making the Common Core Come Alive! debuted this month. She is the principal of Mendon Center Elementary School in Pittsford Central School District, New York. Heather is a co-author of Creating a Culture for Learning and her book Great Mini-Lessons for Teaching Genre Writing was published by Scholastic in 2001.
|August 20, 2012
It’s here! Just in time to ensure that your new teachers have the best possible support system, Just ASK has released the 2012 edition of the Mentor’s Opening of School Checklist! The checklist, as well as other great tools for the opening of school, is available in the Just ASK Resource Center.
Just ASK Certified Local Trainers (CLTs) in Orange County Public Schools, Florida led Great Beginnings, their new teacher induction program based on Why Didn't I Learn This in College? by Paula Rutherford.
August 2012 ASK Group Annual Meeting
ASK Group Consultants and Friends of ASK gathered in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, for the 12th annual ASK Group Annual Meeting. Colleagues engaged in new learning and collaboration around Common Core State Standards, Supervision and Evaluation, and Measurement of Student Achievement.
August 8, 2012
Brenda Kaylor, ASK Group Senior Consultant presented at the Region VIII Office of Head Start & Training and Technical Assistance Network’s “Creating a Culture of Learning: Your Role in School Readiness” conference. Brenda used Just ASK’s publication, Creating a Culture for Learning, to revisit the constructs of school culture and collegial collaboration topics with participants.
July 30, 2012
ASK Group Senior Consultant, Julie McVicker, presented at the Head Start School Readiness Conference in Pierre, South Dakota. Her featured session was on Creating a Culture for Learning. This exciting, interactive session laid the groundwork for the conference by examining what is already in place in programs to support a vision of positive outcomes for young children. The session explored building a strong culture for learning for staff, children and families.
June 30, 2012
Congratulations to ASK Group Associate Michael DiSalvo on his retirement from Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), Virginia. Mike’s most recent position was Technology Integration Specialist at T.C. Williams High School. Prior to that, he was an instructional technology resource teacher and math teacher in ACPS and Easton, Massachusetts. Mike was also the Lead Mentor at Hammond Middle School in ACPS where he recruited and trained cadres of over 20 mentors each year. Learn more about the incredible knowledge and skills he brings to Just ASK on the Just ASK Consultants page.
June 28-30, 2012
Theresa West, Just ASK Consultant, and Fiona Green, Director of Marketing, represented Just ASK at the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP) 2012 Annual Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Theresa and Maria Eck, the former and present principals of McNair Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, led a session titled Taming Those Difficult Conversations. This dynamic duo teamed up to turn around two elementary schools that were struggling to meet AYP. Turnout for their session was great! The hotel had to find more chairs to accomodate the many attendees who filed in to learn about how they created a culture for learning for adults and students.
June 25, 2012
Congratulations to the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) on the 20th anniversary of its principals’ summer institute at UCLA! Paula Rutherford, Just ASK president and senior consultant, is proud to be a member of the faculty of the institute for the 16th consecutive year. The title of her session this year was Creating a Culture for Learning, which is also the title of her most recent book.
June 11, 2012
Read what Becky Au, an instructional specialist at East Picacho Elementary School, Las Cruces Public Schools, New Mexico, said about her Instruction for All Students workshop session with Brenda Kaylor and her recommendations on Just ASK books. Also, join Brenda and others in following Becky’s blog, “Kids Rock.” Thanks, Becky!
June 6-8, 2012
Paula Rutherford was the keynote speaker at the Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships Leadership Conference hosted by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Cypress, Texas. Her presentation is titled Creating a Culture for Learning for Adults and Students. Other speakers at this annual conference, which is attended by over 1,200 educators from 50 Texas school districts, include Tom Many, Debra Pickering, Todd Whitaker, Willard Daggett, and Joseph Renzulli.